To many health insurance companies, the Apple Watch is more than just a shiny tech gadget — it’s a way of promoting wellness for customers and thereby reducing insurance costs. We discovered back in January that one such company, Aetna, was set to launch a program in collaboration with Apple that would encourage its members to improve their health through an app experience that provides daily reminders tied to actual tangible rewards for meeting weekly goals.
Aetna has now launched the program with the debut of its Attain iOS and watchOS app, and with it has provided further details on what the company’s wellness initiative will actually include, and it turns out that Aetna is basically giving away an Apple Watch to members who are able to meet its health goals.
While we knew in January that the app would track activity levels that would go beyond simple step tracking into covering fitness and workout activities, it also looks like Aetna will be including some form of sleep and nutritional aspects, although it’s still unclear whether the app will do any kind of actual sleep tracking, or simply encourage healthy habits like regular bedtimes. The app will also provide nutritional coaching, although this will obviously require the user to manually answer questions and log food data.
Users will also receive important health reminders for things like getting flu shots, scheduling doctors visits, and refilling prescriptions, as well as helping to find high-quality and low-cost options for things like lab tests and MRIs.
Perhaps the most interesting part about the program, however, is that Aetna will actually be rewarding members for achieving regular daily and weekly activity goals, and other healthy actions like getting flu shots, going to the doctor, and refilling prescriptions. Goals will be tailored to users based on their weight and gender, and some will also be tied to users’ personal health history. Points can be accumulated to help pay for the member’s Apple Watch, or can be exchanged for gift cards from retailers such as CVS, Amazon, Target, and Best Buy.
Members who sign up for the program receive a base model Apple Watch Series 3 with the only up-front cost being a one-time activation fee of $15; they can then use their rewards points to cover their monthly payments over the course of 24 months. Customers can also choose to go for a higher-end Apple Watch model for a higher initial cost and then pay off the remaining balance using their rewards. However, Aetna also notes that the Apple Watch reward may not be available on all plans, and recommends members download the Attain app to confirm whether they are eligible.
Attain is also strongly focused on user privacy. Not only is it entirely HIPAA-compliant, but none of the data collected through the app will be used for any kind of insurance-related decisions such as underwriting or setting premiums. Aetna’s goal here seems to be simply to ensure that its members are healthier, thereby reducing claims. Aetna has already discovered previously that the Apple Watch can promote better health, with over 90 percent of participants in a 2016 health initiative reporting that their health improved in some way after participating in the pilot program.