Insurance Companies Subsidize the Watch?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by extricated, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. extricated macrumors 6502

    extricated

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    #1
    The recent Front Page article got me thinking about this. The article is about hospitals using HealthKit, but it inspired a thought.

    Here's my question:

    Has anyone heard about the possibility of insurance companies subsidizing the Apple Watch?

    On one hand, the cost benefits to the consumer sound great; Perhaps offering the possibility of a $99 Apple Watch Sport (that would also satisfy those folks crying about the price).
    On the other hand, there could be other "costs" in the form of privacy.
    Would agreeing to a subsidy give an insurance company access to certain health data and possibly adjusting your rates (up or down)?
    Or, would simply knowing that Apple Watch users may be in better health be compelling enough for insurance companies to subsidize (with no shared data), since their overal health coverage costs could be lowered?

    All just speculation, of course, but a very interesting possibility to me.
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #2
    I'd see only bad things happening when insurance companies are able to collect data about your health.
     
  3. Piggie macrumors 604

    Piggie

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    #3
    What happens when you get your cheap watch, then find out you can't be bothered to keep up the monitoring side of things, or keep forgetting/choosing to wear it?

    They going to ask for it back?
     
  4. bbeagle macrumors 68040

    bbeagle

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    #4
    Many insurance companies now offer $250 wellness debit cards with their insurance plans. Basically, you have a debit card you can use for certain health-related things, like vitamins, gym memberships, healthy food. The card only works at certain retailers for certain items.

    You must use all $250 of the card by the end of the year, or the money is gone.

    Adding Apple to the retailer list, and adding the Watch would certainly increase the number of buyers. I can imagine Apple is lobbying for that now.

    Some insurances offer more, like $400 if you use it on a gym membership, but they require you go 50 times in a 6 month period to get the money. Could be the same for the Apple Watch - offer a free watch, if the health insurance can monitor you, $250 for not monitoring you.
     
  5. extricated thread starter macrumors 6502

    extricated

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    #5
    I agree. If subsidizes did happen, I would hope the terms and conditions wouldn't involve sharing health data. However, if their idea was, "people using health apps and heart rate monitors will probably be healthier and cheaper to insure, so let's subsidize this thing", then I'd be one of the first to sign up.

    Very good point. If the sharing of health data was a term of use, then I guess there would be a penalty of sorts if someone decided that wasn't for them. If they were NOT monitoring your use of the Watch, then it would just be a cost/benefit analysis and a bit of rolling the dice on the part of the company offering the subsidy.
     
  6. bbeagle macrumors 68040

    bbeagle

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    #6
    What do you mean? They do already.

    You go to a doctor to get surgery, the INSURANCE COMPANY evaluates whether or not this is necessary by looking at your medical records. Even if the DOCTORS say that the surgery is necessary, the insurance company can say it's not.

    Of course, you can still get the surgery done, but the insurance company won't pay.

    But, regardless, the insurance company knows (or can get access to) your full medical history.
     
  7. technosix macrumors 6502a

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    #7
  8. Rogifan macrumors P6

    Rogifan

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    #8
    What? :confused:

    I work for a health insurance company. Let me tell you we store petabytes of data relating to all kinds of medical claim and pharmacy data. We use that to build tools for doctors and hospitals to be able to better provide proper treatment, control costs and manage overall population health.

    https://www.optum.com/providers/analytics/optum-one.html

    if there's anyone I'd want to have this data its insurance companies as they're heavily regulated and have to comply with HIPPA, PHI, etc. If Apple really pushes the health aspect of this device I could see them doing deals with insurance companies to offer it to their members. There was a rumor last year that Apple met with two of the biggest insurance companies.
     
  9. jabingla2810 macrumors 68020

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    #9
    Not to derail this topic, but I can barely get my jaw off the floor reading this sentence.

    Living in the UK, that statement above is just complete madness.
     
  10. bbeagle macrumors 68040

    bbeagle

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    #10
    I agree that it's quite madness here in the states.

    It happened to me. I had cancer. There was this cancer drug that would cure me, but it was 'experimental'. The insurance company doesn't pay for 'experimental' drugs.

    Anyways, the doctors tried all the insurance-approved drugs, but nothing got rid of the cancer. Eventually, I agreed to foot the bill for the $50,000 'experimental' drug which cured me. The insurance company refused to pay any of the bill.

    The United States health system is a complete mess. I don't see how it can be fixed. The political parties war over it, and don't want to get it right.
     
  11. fousfous macrumors regular

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    In US that's work like this? :eek:
    I don't want to be sick in US.
     
  12. Piggie macrumors 604

    Piggie

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    #12
    I'd never consider it worth it for a second to get a cheap watch if the price is some company being able to monitor/read the data.

    Just think, you want a watch, and have the great idea to save a couple of hundred dollars.

    Wear the watch, and for some reason, it shows up some unusual heart beat issue, that's not serious, but gets recorded by the health company.

    In years to come, perhaps 10, 20, 50 years time, you could find yourself with some condition, and this data is still recorded historically, and it's used to affect your policy, your treatment or the cover you have.

    For the sake of a cheap watch today, that's Soooooo not worth it.
     
  13. SusanK macrumors 68000

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    #13

    Absolutely.
     
  14. Piggie macrumors 604

    Piggie

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    #14
    Agree 100%

    We all age
    We all develop faults!

    Letting someone else know about these faults, perhaps before they are at a stage of needing treatment, will only ever be used as a negative, against you.

    Unfortunately.
     
  15. SusanK macrumors 68000

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    #15
    The insurance industry is not our friend. Their objective is to collect premiums and deny claims.
     
  16. Brian Y macrumors 68040

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    #16
    Yeah, that's crazy. Insurance companies should have to cover what doctors say. If doctor's want to do it, insurance companies should pay for it.

    As for the watch idea - I'd never want to do that. I can see things like:

    "We detected a higher pulse rate than normal, that could be a risk of a heart attack - your policy is increasing $50/mo."

    or

    "Since you weren't wearing your watch while you had your heart attack, you didn't comply with the conditions of the policy so we will not be helping you."
     
  17. Rogifan macrumors P6

    Rogifan

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    #17
    Wow this thread is going way off topic. What will people here say if Apple does announce partnerships with insurance companies? :eek:
     
  18. Piggie macrumors 604

    Piggie

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    #18
    It's simply not worth the risk for the sensible individual.

    Best case you are TODAY healthy so all it good.

    The second that ANYTHING that's not 100% perfect gets recorded, then they may ruin you financially or health wise in the long term future.

    For the sake of a small saving now, nothing like this is worth the risk long term.
     
  19. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #19
    I think its a bad idea to provide an insurance company with my health data, I understand there's already interactions between hospitals/doctors now, but I don't want to provide my health information to insurance companies apart from that.
     
  20. mgipe macrumors demi-god

    mgipe

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    It may be madness, but it is absolutely true.

    The insurance companies in the US decide which drugs you can use for treatment, which doctors you can see, what tests you can have done, what procedures they will permit, and where you will have them done.
     
  21. extricated thread starter macrumors 6502

    extricated

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    #21
    Agreed.
    I know many of us are concerned how health data monitoring would go, but what about the other side of the scenario I mentioned?
    A scenario where there is no data sharing at all. Could it be possible that an insurance company would want a customer to use Apple Watch (or other fitness wearable) just for likelihood that a user of such technology could conceivably live a healthier lifestyle; therefore, reducing the cost of being insured?
    Not unlike the reasoning behind the "welness debit cards" that bbeagle mentioned (which I was not aware of) ...

    Very interesting, at least, to think about the possibilities.
    I have no idea whether subsidies would happen. I don't guess any of us do.

    Rogifan, you mentioned working for an insurance company.
    Have you heard any mention of this (subsidies for Apple Watch) in the market?
     
  22. Rogifan macrumors P6

    Rogifan

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    #22
    I have not heard anything about at my company. Though stuff like that tends to be secret until right before its announced. I'm not expecting it now but wouldn't be surprised if it happens eventually.
     
  23. bbeagle macrumors 68040

    bbeagle

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    #23
  24. SevengerNC macrumors regular

    SevengerNC

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    #24
    I can't imagine an ins co subsidizing the cost of a watch.
    That would be close to the same thing as paying the cost to remove a tree that might hit your house if it falls. I was an agent for 40 yrs, and that never happened. (why pay $1,000 to remove the tree when you can wait till it blows over and then pay the $10,000 damage? - - actually , there's no provision in the policy to pay preventitive removal) just sayin'
     
  25. bbeagle, Feb 5, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015

    bbeagle macrumors 68040

    bbeagle

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    #25
    Home Insurance / Car Insurance is different than Health Insurance.

    It's been proven that preventative programs actually lower the overall health insurance costs. Paying for a vaccine to prevent measles, for example, far outweighs the price of hospitalizing those with measles. Same with getting people to quit drinking alcohol, to quit smoking, to lose weight or become more active. Less heart attacks or heart problems = less money the insurance companies need to spend.

    Removing a tree isn't the same thing. It's not 'guaranteed' to fall on anything - and it's not as expensive - thus the cost/benefit analysis isn't the same.

    Will an Apple Watch get people to become more active? Well, some insurance companies are allowing people to buy Fitbits with their $250 card.... so maybe they're looking at statistics and seeing if those same people who buy that Fitbits actually reduce their claims to the insurance company?
     

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