Aetna to offer Apple Watch free to employees, discounted to customers and launch new health-oriented apps

Insurance provider Aetna is planning to use the Apple Watch as part of a major health push later this year.

Beginning later this fall, Aetna will provide free Apple Watches to select large employers and individual customers during open enrollment season and plans to subsidize what it calls a “significant” portion of the cost and offering monthly payroll deductions to help cover the remaining costs.

It did not announce how much of the cost of the watch it would cover. The Apple Watch starts at $269 and runs to well over $1,000 for standard models.

The company will also offer free watches to its 50,000 employees who participate in a wellness program.

“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,” said Mark Bertolini, Aetna Chairman and CEO. “This is only the beginning – we look forward to using these tools to improve health outcomes and help more people achieve more healthy days.”

To go along with its hardware push, Aetna plans to introduce several new health initiatives that will be exclusive to Apple’s iOS software for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. The software should debut in early 2017 and will include:

 

  • 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.

“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.”