We now live in a world where almost anything can be tracked by technology. Whether you want to read the news, check the weather, translate a language, track what you eat — there is an app for it. You can even go as far as tracking your steps, heart rate and sleeping pattern with exercise trackers like Fitbit. Not only are these trackers great for your wellbeing, but they can also save you money on health insurance! Insurance companies are now offering discounts and rewards for customers who use Fitbits, Apple Watches or other wearables to enable exercise tracking.
Insurers leading the way
US based insurance company John Hancock was the first insurance company to offer a discount of up to 15 per cent on its life insurance policies.
‘We want to make life insurance more immediate and relevant in the daily lives of our policyholders and help them connect their financial wellbeing to their long-term health,’ Michael Doughty, President and General Manager of John Hancock Insurance, said in a statement.
UnitedHealthcare will pay their health plan members $1,500 annually to hit certain wellness and fitness goals.
Oscar Health Insurance rewards their members with Amazon gift cards.
MLC measures their customers’ heart rates, sleep patterns and physical activities to offer them discounts.
Qantas Assure, backed by NIB, offers up to 15,000 Qantas points per year for hitting step goals and completing weekly challenges to their customers who use health wearables.
AIA Australia gives customers who monitor their health using wearables a discount through its Vitality program.
More companies are jumping on the bandwagon by experimenting and applying these new models to set customer engagement and lower prices with wearable health trackers.
Win-win for insurers and consumers
Wearable exercise trackers can also play a big role in insurers getting to know their clients better, by helping to determine customers’ risk factors and price them accordingly. Instead of one-size-fits-all health premiums, wearable devices allow insurers to provide customised pricing and set personalised goals for individual members.
For customers, the benefits of insurers using health trackers include better health outcomes, lower prices and a better understanding of their health. However, there are other factors we need to be aware of, such as privacy issues, cybersecurity risks and the potential for discriminatory practices against customers that are unable to vigorously exercise.
Only time will tell if wearables will just be a trend in health insurance. So far, the positives outweigh the negatives with the devices allowing for rewards programs, the building of customer health profiles and the strengthening of relationships between insurance companies and their customers. It’s an exciting time for health tech companies and insurance companies working together to promote wellness.