In a significant step in Apple’s push to market its Apple Watch as a well being and health machine, a non-public Medicare insurer is now subsidizing the price of the Watch for its members, as first reported by CNBC.
Devoted Health members can put $150 of “Wellness Bucks” towards the price of an Apple Watch. That would shave off simply over a 3rd of the worth of the $399 Apple Watch Series 5. Wellness Bucks aren’t particularly allotted for wearables; they’ll additionally go towards health lessons and weight reduction packages.
Devoted Health isn’t the primary insurer to make it simpler for folks to get an Apple Watch — Apple has partnered with insurance coverage firms like Aetna and UnitedHealthcare, as an example — however Devoted Health is a Medicare Advantage insurer, which is a non-public firm that covers Medicare advantages for older Americans.
Though Devoted Health is a comparatively small insurer — CNBC says the corporate has about 4,000 members and is barely out there in Florida — the motion remains to be important: 20 million Americans acquired care by Medicare Advantage in 2018, based on figures from Kaiser Family Foundation. That suggests momentum in Apple’s obvious plans to focus on Medicare insurers, as CNBC says that “several” of the Medicare Advantage plans they contacted have been “also considering an Apple Watch fitness benefit.”
Some of the Apple Watch’s options seem to court docket this market: coronary heart fee monitoring and fall detection are among the many perks of newer Apple Watch fashions. Working with insurers on this means may swell Apple Watch gross sales as older Americans use them to observe their habits. Fitbit can also be competing on this house, and a few insurers supply Fitbits as an alternative of Apple Watches to realize basically the identical factor. Some insurers, equivalent to Blue Shield of California, have supplied folks enrolled of their packages incentives for hitting their wearable targets.