United Healthcare, Qualcomm Launch Wellness Program Linking Financial Incentives with Wearable Devices

The wearable devices available through UnitedHealthcare Motion have an option for users to wear around their wrist or attached to a garment of clothing Photo courtesy UnitedHealthcare

The wearable devices available through UnitedHealthcare Motion have an option for users to wear around their wrist or attached to a garment of clothing. (Photo courtesy UnitedHealthcare.)

A new partnership between UnitedHealthcare, Minnetonka, Minnesota, and Qualcomm Inc., San Diego, offers financial incentives for step activities to employees enrolled in its wellness program.

The program, UnitedHealthcare Motion, provides customized wearable devices by Trio Motion, Freeport, Pennsylvania, to employees in the program at no additional charge and enables those employees to earn up to $1,460 each year by meeting certain daily step goals. The program was unveiled at the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society Conference in Las Vegas earlier this month.

“UnitedHealthcare Motion brings together wearable technology, telemedicine and wellness incentives to empower employees to take charge of their health, while enabling employers to more effectively manage health care costs,” Sam Ho, chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare, said in a statement.

The collaboration between UnitedHealthcare and Qualcomm will seek to develop and deliver connected health solutions to employees and consumers across the United States, according to a press release announcing the program. The collaboration will utilize Qualcomm Life's 2net Platform for connectivity.

UnitedHealthcare Motion is designed for UnitedHealthcare plan participants enrolled in high-deductible health plans. The program is now available to employers and employees in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and Washington, DC. Additional markets are expected in 2016, according to the media release.

“A major national insurance company is saying, ‘Okay, we now have the basis to launch an entire national health plan that can take advantage of a unique wearable,’”James Mault, vice president and chief medical officer, Qualcomm Life Inc, said in a Forbes report. “This is a cardiovascular prescription. What you are seeing in this announcement is the first breakthrough of wearables into this medical-grade arena.”

The program and the trackers are being offered initially to companies with 101 to 300 employees with a fully insured health plan. Employees and covered spouses receive the step-tracking devices that tabulates the total number of steps, frequency and intensity of steps taken, which provides "a more accurate and comprehensive summary of the user's daily activity," according to the press release.

Data from the trackers are sent to the UnitedHealthcare Motion app powered by Life's 2net mobile platform. Employees can earn Health Reimbursement Account credits that can reach up to $1,460 annually, and employers can earn premium savings based on the combined results of program participants.

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