Healthcare benefits company Aetna on Tuesday announced a new health initiative centered around the Apple Watch. The company plans to supply the wearable device to its 50,000 employees at no cost, while it will subsidize “a significant portion” of the purchase price of the Watch for customers.
Beginning this fall, Aetna will make Apple Watch available to select large employers and individual customers during open enrollment season, and Aetna will be the first major health care company to subsidize a significant portion of the Apple Watch cost, offering monthly payroll deductions to make covering the remaining cost easier.
In addition to the customer program, Aetna will provide Apple Watch at no cost to its own nearly 50,000 employees, who will participate in the company’s wellness reimbursement program, to encourage them to live more productive, healthy lives.
“We are thrilled that Aetna will be helping their members and employees take greater control of their health using Apple Watch,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Aetna’s new initiatives will be a powerful force toward creating better customer experiences in health care, and we look forward to working with Aetna to make them successful.”
The health insurance firm will also be working with Apple to offer several iOS-focused health initiatives, including integrated health apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. The apps are designed to improve the ability of consumers to manage their health, and increasing healthy outcomes.
The health apps are expected to focus on:
- Care management and wellness, to help guide consumers through health events like a new diagnosis or prescription medication with user-driven support from nurses and people with similar conditions.
- Medication adherence, to help consumers remember to take their medications, easily order refills and connect with their doctor if they need a different treatment through their Apple Watch or iPhone.
- Integration with Apple Wallet, allowing consumers to check their deductible and pay a bill.
- Personalized health plan on-boarding, information, messaging and decision support to help Aetna members understand and make the most of their benefits.
While the Apple Watch initiative will begin later this year, the apps will start becoming available in 2017. Aetna hasn’t yet announced the amount of the Apple Watch purchase price that the company will be subsidizing for their customers.