Last week, insurance giant Aetna and tech kingpin Apple had secret discussions about getting health and fitness tracker Apple Watch on the wrists of millions of consumers linked to Aetna, according to a report by CNBC that cites as sources three people familiar with the matter.
In September 2016, in fact, Aetna revealed its plan to combine the Apple Watch with its analytics-based wellness and care management programs by integrating several iOS-exclusive health initiatives. The company made the Apple Watch available to some of its large employers and individual members during open enrollment season, subsidizing part of the cost.
As part of its corporate wellness program, Aetna today offers an Apple Watch to its 50,000 employees.
The companies held secret invite-only discussions in Southern California last week that were attended by executives from Aetna and Apple along with hospital chief medical information officers from across the country, CNBC said, and Aetna is negotiating with Apple to offer a free or discounted Apple Watch to members of its insurance pool to ush healthier lifestyles and enhanced diet-tracking.
Rumors and anonymous reports have pointed to Apple working behind tightly closed doors developing new products such as health sensors aimed at consumers with chronic diseases, and potentially designing a way for users to access all their medical data via an iPhone.
Aetna responded to our request for confirmation by declining to comment; Apple did not immediately respond.