Health insurer Aetna will subsidize the Apple Watch and develop watchOS apps

Aetna will give some customers and employees discounts on the Apple Watch. Beginning this fall, the health care benefits company will make the Apple smartwatch available to select large employers and individual customers during open enrollment season.

Aetna will be the first major health care company to subsidize a significant portion of the Apple Watch cost, offering monthly payroll deductions to make covering the remaining cost easier. In addition to the customer program, Aetna will provide the smartwatch at no cost to its own nearly 50,000 employees, who will participate in the company’s wellness reimbursement program, to encourage them to live more productive, healthy lives.

With support from Apple, Aetna is planning several iOS-exclusive health initiatives, starting with deeply integrated health apps for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch that will significantly improve the ability of consumers to manage their health and increase healthy outcomes, says Mark Bertolini, Aetna chairman and CEO. The initial solutions under development are among the first health apps designed for multi-device use.

  • Aetna’s iOS-exclusive health apps — due in early 2017 — will aim to simplify the healthcare process through a number of features, including:
  • 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.