The world's largest healthcare corporation has opened its incentive program to Apple Watch users, allowing beneficiaries to earn up to $1,000 per year by tracking their daily steps.
Employers can adopt UnitedHealthcare's UnitedHealthcare Motion program as part of a group coverage plan that ultimately creates financial incentives to improve fitness through walking or running.
UnitedHealthcare is also offering eligible beneficiaries the option to receive a new Apple Watch (up to a Series 3 model) for only the up-front cost of the device's shipping and taxes. Beneficiaries can then pay off the watch's remaining balance via accumulated fitness reward credit as part of UnitedHealthcare's Walk It Off program.
Beneficiaries can earn up to $4 a day for meeting three incentive goals: frequency, intensity and tenacity. This includes completing 500 steps in seven minutes, only one hour apart, at least six times per day; completing 3,000 steps in 30 minutes once per day; and completing at least 10,000 steps per day.
After a watch is paid off, accumulated reward credit will feed directly into the beneficiary's tax-advantaged health spending accounts (HSAs).
Since the launch of UnitedHealthcare Motion in 2015, enrollees have collectively walked more than 180 billion steps and earned more than $27 million in rewards, according to UnitedHealthcare. Annually, companies that have adopted the program have spent approximately $222 less per member versus those subscribed to non-Motion plans, CNBC reported.
Participants in the Motion program are currently averaging nearly 12,000 steps per day, more than double the national average, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
The Apple Watch Series 4, released on Sept. 21, supports an electrocardiography (ECG) app and features a new fall-detection system. Both technologies have been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, categorizing the watch as an official class 2 medical device. Apple COO Jeff Williams has called the watch an intelligent guardian of its user's health.
The new watch's starting price is $399.