Aetna reportedly in talks with Apple to bring Apple Watch to 23M members

A series of meetings involving senior executives at Apple and Aetna have reportedly included discussions about making the Apple Watch available to the insurer’s 23 million members.

The potential deal, reported by CNBC, would expand Aetna’s existing relationship with the consumer tech giant that has been showing more behind-the-scenes interest in the healthcare industry. Last fall, Aetna announced plans to subsidize a portion of the cost of an Apple Watch for its 50,000 employees as part of the company’s employee wellness program.

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One source familiar with the meetings that took place last week in Southern California told CNBC Aetna could launch early next year. Several hospital system CIOs were also reportedly present. Both Aetna and Apple declined to comment to CNBC.

Companies across the country have used wearables and analytics to supplement wellness programs in an effort to control healthcare costs. However, health insurers have the benefit of bundling wellness programs into a broader benefits package while integrating EHR and claims data.

Several insurers have already jumped on board, although often at a smaller scale than the reported partnership between Apple and Aetna. Last year, UnitedHealth launched a wellness program that tied data from fitness trackers to incentive payments. Humana has also used wearable technology to motivate members to improve their overall health.

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Still, most executives are grappling with how to incorporate wearables into those wellness programs, in part because research shows data from wearables isn’t always accurate or useful