Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Apple Watch, using Aetna client data, wants to help you be healthy

Aetna's Attain for Apple Watch benefits health — and privacy Apple Watch, using Aetna client data, wants to help you be healthy
Celia Hoffman | 31 January, 2019, 13:12

Aetna members should be able to start signing up this spring, and the companies have been working on the program since 2016, when the health insurer first announced a collaboration with Apple.

When insurers launch data-driven programs like Attain, it tends to raise eyebrows and questions from skeptics who see the move as a data grab. Aetna also cited a study from RAND Corporation claiming an average activity increase of 34 percent when a "loss-framed incentive" like being forced to pay out of pocket for your ostensibly free Apple Watch was introduced. Companies like Vitality and UnitedHealth Group's Rally Health offer rewards for the work members do toward goals like weight loss, stress management, or better eating and sleeping habits.

Health insurance giant Aetna is teaming up with Apple to introduce a new wellness app, Attain.

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Of course, it's not a stretch to imagine that the learnings gleaned from the Attain program won't be used to develop future insurance programs or policies.

Then, you earn back the price of the device over the next two years by meeting fitness goals, which the Apple Watch can track. Should you fail to complete all your goals for a few months you'll be on the hook to pay part of the cost of the Apple Watch. Through analytics and machine learning, the collaboration will lead to new features for Attain, offering more personalized recommendations created to give greater context and decrease barriers to health care, the insurer said. Alternatively, you can exchange points for retailer gift cards.

Attain users will have the ability to opt-in and share their application data and health history with Apple, which would allow for the improvement of the program and the development of new features. "As we learn over time, the goal is to make more customized recommendations that will help members accomplish their goals and live healthier lives". Because so much of a person's health is influenced by behaviours such as sleep, exercise, and diet, the goal is to push customers to take better care of themselves, potentially making them healthier. If would-be participants don't have an Apple Watch, Attain will provide them with a Series 3 device (they can upgrade to Series 4 for a fee, CNBC reports). But Aetna says the information gathered by Attain "will not be used for underwriting, premium or coverage decisions", and will be used only to improve the app's custom recommendations. Aetna has deep clinical experience assisting its members with their healthcare needs from wellness to chronic disease. CVS Health is community-based and locally focused, engaging consumers with the care they need when and where they need it. Eventually, the company hopes to make it available to all of its 22.1 million members.

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