apple watch
aetna attain wellness program

Insurance companies always seem to be trying out new ways to save you money. Whether that’s by installing a device into your car, to monitor your speed, or giving you discounts if you sign up for wellness programs. Now, the insurance company Aetna is using the Apple Watch to drive their latest program, known as Attain. This new program will be optional. Meaning that you as a client will need to give permission to opt-in to the program. But Aetna will rely on data that is captured securely and privately with the Apple Watch in order to measure each participant’s progress. What’s interesting about this is that it’s the first time that the Apple Watch is being used on this scale in order to power a program of this type. The emphasis is on convenience and, of course, privacy.

What is the goal of this program? To promote healthy living, of course. The program is being announced now, but the Attain app won’t be available until later this spring. The app will work on Apple Watches with a Series 2 or later, and on any iPhone 5s or later. Aetna has indicated that the Attain program will be designed around four aspects. The first aspect is that Aetna will set customized daily and weekly goals for each participant based on age, sex, and weight. These goals won’t be limited to step tracking, but will include other activities like yoga and swimming.

The Attain app will also be based on regular challenges like improving sleep, mindfulness and even nutritional improvements. The app will incorporate participants health history in addition to the data captured by the Apple Watch. The app can capture activities like getting your flu shot, or maintaining regular visits to your primary care physician.

Lastly, Attain will show progress through the program for participants with a point system that can be easily viewed on their iPhone. Points accumulated can be exchanged for credit towards the cost of the Apple Watch or for retail gift cards. These are all great things, but why not also give discounts on insurance rates? I mean, isn’t that the point of an incentive program? It doesn’t have to be a lot per year, but if I’m going to be able to save $100 or $200 a year just by doing something that I’m already doing, then I’m going to do it. That said, credit towards a new Apple Watch or gift cards would also be helpful, so I’m not balking at the reward.

After users have joined Attain, they will have the additional option to share their Attain program data and health history with Apple, enabling Apple and Aetna to collaborate, and over time, continue to improve the Attain experience. Through analytics and machine learning, the collaboration will lead to new features for Attain, offering more personalized recommendations designed to give greater context and decrease barriers to health care.

As indicated, this program will be voluntary. Customers are required to opt-in in order to participate and all of your data will stay secure. In fact, it will remain encrypted and in compliance with HIPPA standards. This definitely seems like a good way to promote good health, and it makes me wonder why more organizations aren’t doing it. Why isn’t Apple administering a program like this themselves? In the future, I suspect more organizations will come on board with these kinds of programs or develop their own.