IBM Providing Employees With Free or Reduced Cost Apple Watch as Part of Health Insurance Plan

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Apr 12, 2001
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Extending its partnership with Apple, IBM is now planning to provide its employees with free or discounted Apple Watch models as part of a "Commit to Health" initiative that will see the Apple Watch distributed to employees under their health insurance plans.

Based on the health plan an IBM employee chooses, they can either get a subsidy that covers the full cost of an Apple Watch or the option to purchase an Apple Watch at a reduced price. IBM is likely hoping its employees will take advantage of the Apple Watch's fitness tracking capabilities, racking up steps and meeting exercise goals to stay healthy.

IBM had a similar program that saw employees provided with Fitbit activity trackers, but it is not clear if the Apple Watch is supplementing this program or replacing it. With the Fitbit program, exercising and taking steps let employees accumulate points that were able to be redeemed for merchandise or charitable donations.


Several health insurance companies and businesses have teamed up to adopt similar programs in an effort to cut down on healthcare costs, incentivizing exercise and activity with lower premiums and other rewards. Fitbit, for example, works with a large number of companies to incorporate activity tracking into corporate wellness programs.

Most of these programs existed before the Apple Watch launched, but the Apple Watch itself has proven to be a highly useful tool that motivates wearers to exercise, and it's possible additional companies could follow in IBM's footsteps in the future.

The Apple Watch encourages users to stand up once per hour, exercise, and burn calories to achieve goals. Many early Apple Watch adopters have said the device has motivated them to make better lifestyle choices, increasing their daily activity. Jim Dalrymple of The Loop, for example, credits HealthKit and the Apple Watch for his weight loss of 40 pounds.

(Thanks, Eric!)

Update: MacRumors has been informed that IBM will continue working with Fitbit for its corporate wellness program. The Apple Watch will not replace the Fitbit in the program and will instead be offered alongside it.

Article Link: IBM Providing Employees With Free or Reduced Cost Apple Watch as Part of Health Insurance Plan
 

futbalguy

macrumors 6502
May 16, 2007
269
45
Will Tim Cook report these as sales (if he ever reports any)?
The insurance company and/or IBM is paying for the watches. So they will be counted as sales for Apple.

This is a a smart move for companies/insurance plans if the watches do encourage employees to improve their health. Also, employees will probably think its cool which is good for morale.
 

kingpushup

macrumors regular
Jun 24, 2013
220
231
Positive opportunity. I support presidential fitness roll outs for cities, and IBM is like a small city. Behaviorally we cannot "quit" laziness (a type of negative reinforcement), but we can complete circles. Sometimes life is this simple, this positive.

Like it.
 

OldSchoolMacGuy

Suspended
Jul 10, 2008
4,197
9,049
This is going to become more and more common. Think of it like the Progressive Snapshot for your body. If you can show you're working out more and getting enough sleep, you can get lower insurance because you're taking better care of your body. Much the same as putting the Snapshot in your car shows you don't drive at high risk times or in a high risk way.

Give up some privacy in turn for a discount.

This is actually part of the Affordable Care Act which requires insurers to interact with their customers. If they can build in a way to interact with people about their health then they can meet some of those additional requirements easier.
 

konqerror

macrumors 68020
Dec 31, 2013
2,298
3,688
The insurance company and/or IBM is paying for the watches. So they will be counted as sales for Apple.

This is a a smart move for companies/insurance plans if the watches do encourage employees to improve their health. Also, employees will probably think its cool which is good for morale.
And because it's part of the health plan, it's pre-tax. Next headline, "IBM avoids paying $xx M in taxes by handing out Apple gadgets".
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,853
4,643
Filling out IBM job application now...
Ha. Nobody reads those. Just find an existing employee and they'll refer you.

(I know because I am an employee. There's so many automated filter systems that your odds are slim to none that your application will go anywhere if you don't hand it to an actual employee. I got in via a Friend of a Friend. A coworker got in via their dad being an employee. Another got in via their friend. A few people got in via acquisitions. I don't know anybody who made it in via filling out a job application.)

Anyways, for employees who want to know more, it's an email that was sent yesterday afternoon from IBM Human Resources. The subject was "Your 2016 Benefits: Let's Commit to Health". It sounds to me like you won't actually be able to order/receive your Apple Watch until next year... I suspect that this is mostly a way for Apple to clear out old generation 1 models before they release new generation 2 models in Spring.
 

TheNormsk

macrumors member
Jun 23, 2015
68
27
Colorado
Filling out IBM job application now...
You realize that IBM will work you to the bone? That they behave like a 3 year old when it comes to separation of work and home life balance. With respect to work time: what's mine is mine, what's yours is mine....


(mine being IBM)
 

TonyC28

macrumors 68000
Aug 15, 2009
1,827
5,397
USA
Why would he need to report sales? Apple is the most profitable company is human history. They are doing just fine regardless of individual metrics.
I think people ask this question about the Apple Watch because Apple tends to boast when the numbers are good. iPhone sale or pre-order numbers are usually announced within a couple days of availability.
 
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Nunyabinez

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2010
1,758
2,230
Provo, UT
This is going to become more and more common. Think of it like the Progressive Snapshot for your body. If you can show you're working out more and getting enough sleep, you can get lower insurance because you're taking better care of your body. Much the same as putting the Snapshot in your car shows you don't drive at high risk times or in a high risk way.

Give up some privacy in turn for a discount.

This is actually part of the Affordable Care Act which requires insurers to interact with their customers. If they can build in a way to interact with people about their health then they can meet some of those additional requirements easier.
"Howie, why does your fit bit say you ran 174 miles yesterday?"

 

Benjamins

macrumors 6502a
Jul 15, 2010
647
83
Ha. Nobody reads those. Just find an existing employee and they'll refer you.

(I know because I am an employee. There's so many automated filter systems that your odds are slim to none that your application will go anywhere if you don't hand it to an actual employee. I got in via a Friend of a Friend. A coworker got in via their dad being an employee. Another got in via their friend. A few people got in via acquisitions. I don't know anybody who made it in via filling out a job application.)

Anyways, for employees who want to know more, it's an email that was sent yesterday afternoon from IBM Human Resources. The subject was "Your 2016 Benefits: Let's Commit to Health". It sounds to me like you won't actually be able to order/receive your Apple Watch until next year... I suspect that this is mostly a way for Apple to clear out old generation 1 models before they release new generation 2 models in Spring.
Ha. You are my new BFF.
 

asiga

macrumors 6502a
Nov 4, 2012
857
1,060
Perfect addition to the "don't eat meat" law by the WHO yesterday. It's on the same lines of people believing everything the mass media says and the feel good style of an invented artificial health. Add this to the antibullying emoji from last week, and the political lobbying, and you get an idea of what's Tim's Apple.

On the mean time, there're quite a few customers waiting for a Mac Pro update...
 
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