People over the age of 65 could soon purchase a subsidized Apple Watch to use as a health tracker.
According to CNBC today, citing sources familiar with Apple’s plans, the Cupertino technology powerhouse is considering at least three private Medicare plans to subsidize the wearable device. About 19 million seniors are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, which are private health plans that receive government payouts for providing services to seniors.
Apple Watch might be pricier than other trackers, such as the Fitbit, but insurance executives say they’d work with Apple if the company can show that it helps its members detect potentially serious health problems before they require an expensive intervention.
‘Avoiding one emergency room visit would more than pay for the device,’ said Bob Sheehy, CEO of Bright Health, an insurance start-up with a Medicare Advantage plan and the former CEO of United Healthcare.
At-risk seniors could buy their watch subsidized through private Medicare plans that are said to lower the cost of Series 3 and Series 4 models. “The talks have not resulted in any official deals just yet,” reads the article. “Apple has paid a visit to several of the largest insurers in the market, as well as some smaller, venture-backed Medicare Advantage plans.”
Series 3 starts at $279 and Series 4 retails for a minimum of $399.
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The talks have not resulted in any official deals just yet, the people said. Apple has paid a visit to several of the largest insurers in the market, as well as some smaller, venture-backed Medicare Advantage plans. The people declined to be named as the discussions are still private. Apple declined to comment.
This is great news for older Medicare users because they might be able to get the latest Series 4 model without breaking the bank to take advantage of its two exclusive health-oriented capabilities: fall detection and a built-in ECG.
Fall detection on Apple Watch Series 4, via the Wall Street Journal
Note that the Cupertino company has previously signed a deal with insurance giants Aetna and United Healthcare about subsidizing the cost of the watch. According to Tim Cook, Apple is doubling down on healthcare and wellbeing.
“This is an area that I believe, if you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, ‘What was Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind,’ it will be about health,” he said.