Apple in talks to subsidize its watch for some Medicare seniors: 6 things to know

Apple reportedly has been in talks with at least three private Medicare plans about subsidizing the cost of its Apple Watch — which runs from $279 to $399 — for plan members over age 65, CNBC reports.

Six things to know:

1. The latest version of the Apple Watch features fall detection and an electrocardiogram to measure a wearer's heart rate — features that could be beneficial to seniors. The watch's EKG can detect atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes abnormal heart rhythms and tends to affect people over 65 more than younger adults.

2. Sources told CNBC the talks haven't resulted in any deals yet. However, Apple has reportedly visited several large insurers and smaller, venture-back Medicare Advantage plans. The company declined to comment on the CNBC report.

3. Insurance experts told CNBC that the senior population is an ideal market for the Apple Watch. Consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers expects the Medicare Advantage market to bring in more than $350 billion in annual revenue by 2020, according to CNBC.

4. "It's the segment of health insurance with the highest dollar revenue and margin per member," Augustin Ruta, health insurance consultant at A2 Strategy Group, told CNBC, adding that Medicare members enrolled in private plans tend to have lower churn rates, meaning insurers are more likely to invest in members' long-term health.

5. Although the market is full of other lower-cost fitness trackers, such as Fitbit, insurance executives told CNBC they'd work with Apple if the company can prove its watch can proactively identify potentially serious health conditions.

"Avoiding one emergency room visit would more than pay for the device," said Bob Sheehy, CEO of insurance startup Bright Health and the former CEO of United Healthcare.

6. Over the last year, Apple has made several deals with payers, including Aetna, United Healthcare and John Hancock, CNBC adds.

More articles on health IT:

Jim Cramer: Why Apple should buy Epic
23andMe raised most digital health funding in 2018
Only use blockchain when it's the 'simplest solution available,' McKinsey partners say

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2020. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.


Featured Webinars

Featured Whitepapers