- Aetna is jumping on board with Apple in a new initiative announced this week to harness the potential of Apple products with exclusive Aetna health apps to switch up the insurer's customer experience.
- Starting this fall, Aetna plans to become the first major healthcare company to cover a "significant portion" of the cost of the Apple Watch for select large employers and individual customers, it said. No specific subsidy amount was named.
- In another major move, Aetna also plans to provide Apple Watches at no cost to its own almost 50,000 employees to encourage healthier living and use of the insurer's wellness reimbursement program.
Aetna is taking a technologically progressive stance in subsidizing the Apple Watch and partnering with Apple on support for a number of iOS-exclusive health apps it said will be integrated for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch to help users manage their health. The insurer said the solutions under development will be available in 2017 and they are among the first health apps designed for multi-device use.
Aetna also positioned itself this week as philosophically progressive, in its call for attention toward community support for quality of life measures proven to impact health and wellness such as walkable neighborhoods and access to fresh foods. The two moves together highlight Aetna's focus on healthy living as a priority before healthcare.
The question will be what Aetna's move with Apple means for the health/wellness sphere now that such a major player has upped the ante on the integration of technology; will more major insurers or other health entities jump into wearables and/or the development of dedicated apps?
Aetna’s health apps will fulfill several goals, including guiding users through health events such as a new diagnosis, providing user-driven support, help with medication orders and adherence, and integration with Apple Wallet for checking a deductible or paying a bill.