Apple Watch to be sold alongside Aetna health insurance plans

The Apple Watch could soon be sold discounted or free to Aetna’s 23 million members, as a way to improve health outcomes and lower insurance costs, according to a CNBC report.

Apple held a series of meetings with Aetna executives and hospital chief medical information officers, discussing the possibility of a plan that included the Watch. It is not the first time the two companies have met to discuss plans, Bloomberg reported a similar story in September last year.

Aetna already offers the Apple Watch to its 50,000 employees as part of its corporate wellness program, so it has experience using the smartwatch.

A number of changes planned

Apple has made a number of changes to the Watch since the last reported meeting, including a switch to focus on health and fitness. Rumors suggest Apple will take this further with the next version of the Watch, adding health features that may need FDA approval.

The Watch is also expected to have cellular connectivity, more battery life, and a new design.

Apple has made significant progress in smartwatch sales over the past year, surpassing Fitbit as the largest wearable seller in the U.S., second in the world to Xiaomi. Sales reached 22 million in the first three months of 2017, according to Strategy Analytics.

That said, the company has not yet pushed hard for the health industry. It switched its marketing to focus on fitness and health, but the Aetna discussions are the first move for insurance providers.

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