Apple recently held a round of invitation-only secret meetings with major healthcare provider Aetna to see how to best bring discounted Apple Watch units to Aetna’s 23 million insurers as a member perk, three people familiar with the matter told CNBC this afternoon.

This appears to be an extension of an earlier program which saw Aetna supply free Apple Watch units to the 50,000 of its own employees as part of its corporate wellness program.

A source has confirmed that the meetings, led by Apple’s special projects and health head, Myoung Cha, took place in Southern California on August 10 and 11.

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Aetna is reportedly looking to roll out the new program to its insurers in early 2018.

“This is a logical step for Apple’s broader distribution of their watch and this type of partnership has been on their radar from the beginning,” said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, an advisory firm that specializes in technology.

Both companies declined to comment on the report.

  • pnh

    Just so you know, Aetna is the “insurer”. The people getting the watches are called “subscribers” or “insured”.

  • Is that a heartrate monitor on the watch band? Why? Isn’t it built-in?

    • pnh

      Looks like it could be an electrode for an EKG.