Aetna turns to Apple Watch to bolster wellness programs

Apple Watch

Aetna plans to incorporate Apple products into its wellness program during the upcoming open enrollment period to help beneficiaries better manage their overall health.

On Tuesday, the company announced plans to subsidize “a significant portion” of the cost of the Apple Watch for a select number of large employers and individual consumers. Aetna will also cover the cost of the device for each of its 50,000 employees as part of the organization’s wellness reimbursement program. Other organizations have used the Apple Watch to incentivize employees to meet certain fitness goals.

Aetna has partnered with Apple to create “deeply integrated health apps” for the device that are also compatible with iPhone and iPad devices. These apps will offer Aetna members medication reminders and prescription refill alerts, help them help navigate a new medical diagnosis, provide them access to benefit support tools, and let them pay medical bills through Apple Wallet.

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“We are incredibly excited to use iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch to create simple, intuitive and personalized technology solutions that will transform the health and wellness experience for our members,” Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said in an annoucement. “This is only the beginning--we look forward to using these tools to improve health outcomes and help more people achieve more healthy days.”

Other insurers, like UnitedHealth, have taken similar steps to integrate new wearable technology into wellness initiatives. Payers across the industry are increasingly embracing the power of mobile apps as a way to bolster consumer feedback and health literacy.

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