Aetna really wants its customers to own Apple Watches.
The health insurance giant announced on Tuesday it would subsidize "a significant portion" of the price of an Apple Watch as part of its app-based fitness program for "select large employers" and individuals, starting early next year. Aetna didn't specify how much the subsidy would cover.
It also offered free watches to its 50,000 employees.
A bare-bones Apple Watch costs $269, but fancier models can cost more than $1,000.
This is only the beginning -- we look forward to using these tools to improve health outcomes and help more people achieve more healthy days.
Aetna touted the "unmatched user experience of Apple products" in its press release. It also plans to use some of the health apps already built into iOS devices to "significantly improve the ability of customers to manage their health."
This might actually backfire
There's evidence that fitness trackers don't actually help lose weight. A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found people wearing fitness trackers lost less weight over two years than non-wearers.
Aetna's plan seems to go beyond weight loss. Its app will also include medication reminders and help for navigating insurance benefits, among other features.
We are thrilled that Aetna will be helping their members and employees take greater control of their health using Apple Watch.
This isn't Apple's first big health partnership. In July, it collaborated with GlaxoSmithKline, a pharmaceutical company that used the ResearchKit app for an arthritis study, Engadget reports.
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