Tech company leader Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and insurance giant Aetna (NASDAQ: AET) announced a deal today involving healthcare and Apple Watches on discount. Aetna will kick off a new health program base on apps that will exclusively run on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.
Aetna covers approximately 23 million people in the United States. The app-based project could also include Apple’s open source platform CareKit for creating healthcare apps. It certainly seems like it would be the perfect match.
Most notably, the program will see the Aetna offer Apple Watches at a discount to promote healthcare. Starting this fall, the American managed health care company will pay a still unspecified share of the Apple Watch price tag when customers enter wellness plans.
Meanwhile, the Cupertino-based company hopes the alliance will boost its slumped Apple Watch sales. The Apple device cost $349 for the 38mm size and $399 for the 42mm size. Sales dropped by 55 percent in the second quarter of 2016, from 3.6 million watches sold to 1.6 million.
What will the apps do for the customers?
The iOS apps will guide people through health events like a new diagnosis or prescription medication, help them remind when to take their medications or order refills, and even contact their doctor if they need a different treatment.
Other integrated features include providing users with insurance information as well as allowing them to link the apps to their Apple Wallet app for making payments.
Aetna will have the apps ready and begin covering Apple Watches in early 2017. Customers can pay off the remaining costs via monthly payroll deductions. Additionally, the insurer’s 50,000 employees will get the smartwatch for free at the beginning of 2017.
Apple and Aetna to work directly with each other
“THE APPLE WATCH COULD HELP AETNA MEMBERS AND WORKERS HAVE GREATER CONTROL OVER THEIR HEALTH, AS WELL AS CREATE BETTER CUSTOMERS EXPERIENCES IN AETNA’S NEW HEALTHCARE INITIATIVES,” said Apple’s CEO Tim Cook .
On the other hand, Aetna spokesperson Ethan Slavin said his company would work directly with Apple to develop a host of healthcare apps for Aetna customers. He further stated that Apple employees would provide support, while Aetna will have workers focused on the collaboration.
Apple vs. FitBit
Earlier this year, Apple revamped both the hardware and software of its Apple Watch to give the device more fitness and health tracking features. The smartwatch is now a direct competitor to wearable rivals FitBit.
Fitbit started a similar initiative as well to allow its fitness trackers to enter the healthcare market. Called Fitbit Group Health, the organization aims to join forces with corporate wellness partners, weight management leaders, insurance companies, and clinical researchers.
Source: Ars Technica