Apple and Aetna Talked Data Privacy, Cost and More in Apple Watch Meeting

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Apple and insurance provider Aetna met last week to discuss ways to offer discounted Apple Watch models to Aetna's 23 million subscribers, and CNBC has shared details on some of the topics that were discussed at the meeting, attended by Aetna employees, Apple executives, and health providers from major hospitals.

Aetna is aiming to determine whether the Apple Watch can be used by subscribers to improve health outcomes by encouraging them to exercise, eat better, and better manage health issues. Info on the meeting came from Mandy Bishop, an attendee who founded startup Lifely Insights. Much of the meeting consisted of feedback from Aetna employees who have been testing the Apple Watch.


Data privacy, including who had access to what data, was a major topic of discussion, with Apple explaining that Apple Watch health data can only be shared with third-party apps and companies with express user consent.

The Apple Watch's lack of situational awareness was brought up as a pain point, such as when the device delivers a stand notification when a user is on a plane or in another environment that makes standing difficult. Cost was also a significant topic of discussion.
One theme that emerged during the event, she said, is that many of those who were enrolled in the program wanted to get healthy alongside their families. But many couldn't afford to spend upwards of $1,000 on devices for their spouses and children.

The cost issue wasn't entirely resolved, she said, but it proved to be a sticking point. It remains unclear whether Aetna will extend its discounts from employees and/or members to their family-members.
Apple and Aetna are said to be planning to implement some kind of Apple Watch program in early 2018, which would see the company offering free or discounted Apple Watches to its subscribers.

Aetna already has a program that provides a free Apple Watch to its 50,000 employees and it already subsidizes the cost for some subscribers, with data from that program being used to determine if an expansion is worth it.

Article Link: Apple and Aetna Talked Data Privacy, Cost and More in Apple Watch Meeting
 

MrMoonUK

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Jun 2, 2015
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Vitality does this already, they have done since last year, a subsidised AW2 if you do exercise as part of your health insurance, if you do enough its basically a free AW
 
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OldSchoolMacGuy

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Sounds like a solid partnership. Apple gets a ton of new sales and more data to help them make their products better. Aetna gets more data on patients to learn to better serve them and find new opportunities to make money.

With more data on patient health, they may be able to zero in on people that are high risk, changing that behavior in order to save themselves money in the long run and help that person live a better life with less doctor visits.

Some will claim they're only doing it to charge people more for insurance but at this point that's simply not possible. Maybe in the future. For right now, they can just use this data to help people make better health decisions. My own insurance for instance has an app which can tie into all types of fitness devices. It allows them to track your exercise habits and give helpful tips about living a healthier lifestyle.

What many forget is that for an insurance company, the most profitable customers are the ones that pay their bill every month and DON'T ever have to go to the doctor. It's in their best interest (financially) to prevent people from needing to use medial services and them having to pay out.
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Vitality does this already, they have done since last year, a subsidised AW2 if you do exercise as part of your health insurance, if you do enough its basically a free AW
That's great. Aetna covers 23.1 million media members, so this is a far bigger deal based on the sheer number of people it will bring the option to.
 

69Mustang

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Jan 7, 2014
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In between a rock and a hard place
What many forget is that for an insurance company, the most profitable customers are the ones that pay their bill every month and DON'T ever have to go to the doctor. It's in their best interest (financially) to prevent people from needing to use medial services and them having to pay out.
I don't think anyone forgets the insurance company's most profitable customer is the one who doesn't need care. We all know that. What concerns some is providing copious amounts of data to the insurance company that could potentially allow them to exclude those who don't fit into the most profitable category. With the questions looming about healthcare in the US, I'd say the concern is a legitimate one.
 

kingpushup

macrumors regular
Jun 24, 2013
220
231
Situational awareness should feed from iPhone-mirrored airplane mode or watch-initiated popcorn mode, correct?

Supposing minor user-experience finishing could be done to also adapt do-not-disturb to feed through, reflecting in meeting/etc.

But sub-routine: hourly stand in plane is actually encouraged, preventing blood clot etc.
 

BruiserB

macrumors 68000
Aug 9, 2008
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Since every AppleWatch needs an iPhone to sync to, this is great for Apple.

Actually, I'm kind of surprised Aetna wouldn't argue for Apple offering an Android client app as well...unless they are also working with an Android Watch supplier in addition to Apple.
 

now i see it

macrumors 603
Jan 2, 2002
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Here's a tip for the inactive people that want to become more active: Get up & move around. The more, the better.
There. I just saved you $1000.
 

roundaboutmusic

macrumors newbie
Sep 13, 2012
17
4
The plane thing is a pain, I had the best activity day I've ever had crossing the date line and having the watch combine two days worth of activity into one.

Conversely, going the other way, I had an entirely blank day.
 

TechZeke

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Jul 29, 2012
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San Antonio, TX
I don't think anyone forgets the insurance company's most profitable customer is the one who doesn't need care. We all know that. What concerns some is providing copious amounts of data to the insurance company that could potentially allow them to exclude those who don't fit into the most profitable category. With the questions looming about healthcare in the US, I'd say the concern is a legitimate one.
IF you don't think this is the nose in the tent of your health insurance company knowing 24/7 when you are gorging on french fries or eating kale , you are smoking crack. Of course they will know all about that too.

I can already see this in the future: "Your Apple Watch reports that you haven't done the daily recommended amount of exercise for the past month. 25% premium increase please."
 

kohlson

macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2010
2,329
691
The situational awareness thing has more to go than sitting on an airplane. For example:
- Moving 1-4 mph? You're walking! After a few seconds of this start registering this as such.
- Moving 4-8 mph? You're running!
- Moving 4-20+ mph? You're riding your bike! Ditto

Maybe these "catch-all" signals don't describe you. Make this switchable, and configurable. After all, an iPhone is the back end.

And that's another thing. When a Watch won't work (like backpacking for several days, or it otherwise runs out of power) why can't the Activity Circles use iPhone activity? Use baseline numbers, such as 100 calories per mile.
 

OldSchoolMacGuy

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I don't think anyone forgets the insurance company's most profitable customer is the one who doesn't need care. We all know that. What concerns some is providing copious amounts of data to the insurance company that could potentially allow them to exclude those who don't fit into the most profitable category. With the questions looming about healthcare in the US, I'd say the concern is a legitimate one.
These programs are not a requirement. Everyone is free to provide their data or simply not participate. It's all in what you're comfortable in and no one is requiring anyone to be part of this.

It's no different than Progressive monitoring your driving via a Snapshot in exchange for a 30% discount for good drivers. My wife and I both receive 30% off our bi-yearly renewal in exchange for the data we provided about our driving habits. No one is required to be part of the program but those that do are eligible for a potential benefit. This insurance deal is the same. Get an Apple Watch which can benefit the user (notifications, apps, workout tracking, etc) in exchange for sharing some personal information.
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Since every AppleWatch needs an iPhone to sync to, this is great for Apple.

Actually, I'm kind of surprised Aetna wouldn't argue for Apple offering an Android client app as well...unless they are also working with an Android Watch supplier in addition to Apple.
They likely already have an offer with FitBit or other devices. Most insurance companies already do.
 

Apple blogger

macrumors 6502a
Feb 28, 2013
872
146
I really don't think Apple is going to allow them data so easily. They don't allow the government I doubt they will grant access to it for a deal. The article clearly said that Apple told them that data is shared via apps with express user concent. Also, if the company launches an App, firstly the consumer would have to download it, and having downloaded, it would need to allow access to health data. Being encrypted, they can't phish it out. Also, of the App Store guildlines are violated, Apple will not hesitate to remove the app.

After so many years , I think I can vouch for them for this bit.
 

McFlyOz

macrumors member
Jul 22, 2015
76
107
Key Largo
Does anyone actually have an Aetna plan and the :apple:watch AND supplying data AAAAAAAND not having their premium go up AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND feeling good about exercising AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND ... I got nothing. NOTHING, I TELLS YA!
 

isomorphic

macrumors regular
Apr 19, 2010
229
262
I can already see this in the future: "Your Apple Watch reports that you haven't done the daily recommended amount of exercise for the past month. 25% premium increase please."
Premium increase? Try "We've dropped you, and blacklisted your name with other insurance companies."
 

DiscoMcDisco

macrumors regular
Jul 31, 2013
158
37
London
Vitality does this already, they have done since last year, a subsidised AW2 if you do exercise as part of your health insurance, if you do enough its basically a free AW
Sadly not open to partners of policy holders but otherwise it’s truly brilliant. My misses is smashing her rings to keep it free. Very very good incentivising
 

Vanilla35

macrumors 68040
Apr 11, 2013
3,267
1,263
Washington D.C.
Health insurance companies murder people for $$$.
With all this new data, they'll know exactly where your weak points are. So when you have a "heart attack", no one bats an eye due to your existing heart conditions ;)
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I don't think anyone forgets the insurance company's most profitable customer is the one who doesn't need care. We all know that. What concerns some is providing copious amounts of data to the insurance company that could potentially allow them to exclude those who don't fit into the most profitable category. With the questions looming about healthcare in the US, I'd say the concern is a legitimate one.
My personal concern with insurance companies is that basically the more data the have, the more reason they have to lower your rate. They don't start off by default by offering you a low rate. They'll offer whatever they can to get you on board, and then any additional information you give them raises your rate.

I'd be curious to see if positive "lifestyle" data from the AW would lower your rate. I'm highly doubtful of this though.
 

jeffkoontz

macrumors newbie
Aug 25, 2017
12
22
USA
I really don't think Apple is going to allow them data so easily. They don't allow the government I doubt they will grant access to it for a deal. The article clearly said that Apple told them that data is shared via apps with express user concent. Also, if the company launches an App, firstly the consumer would have to download it, and having downloaded, it would need to allow access to health data. Being encrypted, they can't phish it out. Also, of the App Store guildlines are violated, Apple will not hesitate to remove the app.

After so many years , I think I can vouch for them for this bit.
All this may be true, but I will bet that people will opt-in voluntarily (or with some minor financial coercion) pretty easily. You might have some holdouts, but the vast majority will allow access to health-kit.

They are providing these at a cost of $25 (on up for better models) for members enrolled in their small group self-funded products.

I imagine that with the rumored optical blood glucose monitoring, etc., the Apple watch could turn into the medical version of that Progressive auto insurance device that plugs into your car's computer port. Optical blood glucose monitoring is rumored to be on the way, then maybe optical substance abuse monitoring, etc..

Lots of health data that can be used to encourage wellness, but might also be used to predict future pricing.

These self-funded plans are where there's a lot of leverage as they aren't subject to the ACA, and can price groups according to the data they have access to, and the employers have skin in the game and will want to play along. I mean just the data of the average resting heartbeat of a group might be a predictor of how that group's overall cardiac health is.
 
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