Apple and Aetna have reportedly held secret talks to bring the Apple Watch to millions of Aetna customers, according to three people familiar with the matter.
The insurer, which covers 23 million, is already offering Apple’s smartwatch to its 50,000 employees as part of its corporate wellness program; it is now looking to go beyond that and eventually offer a free or discounted Apple Watch as a perk to its members.
It is said that meetings between executives of the two companies took place in Southern California, and also included hospital chief medical information officers across the country. Apple’s Myoung Cha, who has the title “special projects, health,” led the discussions, said one of the people.
Aetna hopes to use the Apple Watch as an incentive device to increase customer interest in a healthier lifestyle and a better tracking of diet. On the other hand, such a deal could help the Cupertino-based company further cement its position as the number one smartwatch maker and one of the biggest players in the entire of wearables space.
One of the people said Aetna’s proposed timeline is slated for early next year, and unsurprisingly neither Apple nor Aetna wanted to comment on the story.
In the meantime, we know Apple is taking connected health space seriously and has been investing heavily in related technologies. The company has a few platforms that “cover” patients, health systems and researchers. It is also reportedly working to turn the iPhone into health screening / monitoring device.