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.Discuss this article
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Apple and Aetna are discussing ways to offer discounted Apple Watch models to millions of consumers with Aetna insurance, reports CNBC
. Citing people with knowledge of Apple's plans, the site says Apple and Aetna held discussions last week that included senior officials from Apple, Aetna, and several hospitals.
Aetna already offers a program
that provides the Apple Watch at no cost to its 50,000 employees and subsidizes the cost for some subscribers, but the insurance company is said to be negotiating with Apple to offer a free or discounted Apple Watch to all Aetna members.
Apple's Myoung Cha, who has the title "special projects, health," led the discussions, said one of the people. The move by Aetna is part of its push to increase customer interest in a healthier lifestyle and a better tracking of diet, said one of the people.
Aetna is said to be aiming to implement some kind of program early in 2018, and its goal seems to be an expansion of plans that were announced back in September. At that time, Aetna said it was planning to subsidize the cost of the Apple Watch for large employers and individual customers.
Aetna also said it would develop several iOS health initiatives with "support" from Apple, offering "deeply integrated" health apps for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch to Aetna customers.
The company's plan to offer discounted or free Apple Watch models to subscribers comes as Apple is on the verge of introducing a third-generation Apple Watch. Rumors suggest the upcoming device features an LTE chip that allows it to be decoupled from the iPhone and there's also a possibility we'll see a redesign.
We expect to see the third-generation Apple Watch introduced alongside new iPhones in September.Discuss this article
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