UnitedHealth Group, one of America’s largest health insurance providers, announced this week that it’s adding the Apple Watch to its fitness-tracking rewards program, which is designed to promote an active lifestyle among its customers.
UnitedHealth customers can now receive an Apple Watch Series 3 by paying for only the shipping and taxes, UNH announced in a press release.
According to the U.S. News and World Report, “The actual cost of the device can then be paid off over time by users earning cash rewards for hitting fitness targets. For example, users can earn $1.25 in credit by reaching 3,000 steps in 30 minutes and another $1.25 by hitting 10,000 steps in a single day.”
UnitedHealth is not the first health insurance provider to offer Apple Watches to customers. Aetna announced last year that it would be providing free Apple Watches to select employees and customers.
“UnitedHealthcare Motion is part of our consumer-focused strategy that is driving toward a simple, integrated, mobile-centric ecosystem that delivers value to consumers,” said Steve Nelson, CEO of UnitedHealthcare. “Smart watches and activity trackers stand alongside transparency in physician selection and medical costs, easy virtual visits with health care professionals, and digital coaching and online wellness programs, all of which are designed to support consumers in enhancing their health and improving how they navigate the health care system.”
Since UnitedHealthcare Motion’s inception, participants have collectively walked more than 180 billion steps and earned nearly $30 million in rewards. Among eligible employees, 66 percent registered their devices, with nearly two-thirds of those active with the program. Now that participants can receive their own, brand new Apple Watches, those numbers are expected to skyrocket.
Bank of America analyst Wamsi Mohan told U.S. News and World Report that this program is a win for Apple stock holders, as these types of fitness promotions in the health care industry could boost Apple Watch adoption.
“Large national health programs adopting Apple Watch as their fitness tracker could help drive higher sales of the device,” Mohan says.
For active lifestyle consumers who own shares in Apple, it’s the quintessential win-win.