A group of employers in the US are dangling the carrot of an almost free Apple Watch in front of their workforce to get them fitter and healthier.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Vitality Group is launching the scheme at companies including insurance company Lockton and biopharmaceutical firm Amgen. The $25 Apple Watch – we’re not sure which model – only stays at that price if the employee on the scheme meets health and fitness targets every month for two years. Otherwise they have to reimburse their bosses for the price of the smartwatch. Huh.
In theory, everyone wins. The companies save on insurance premiums if its workforces lead healthier, fitter lifestyles and at an initial cost of around $300 per device, that will probably work in their favour. And the rank and file get super cheap smartwatches.
The choice for the individual is how much their health and fitness data is worth – it will be interesting if Vitality expects total access to data from the Apple Watch or just evidence that each person is meeting their goals.
These kind of wellness incentive schemes are seen as a product of Obamacare but they’ve been around for a while. This doesn’t seem to be an Apple approved program but Fitbit has its own Corporate Wellness scheme which includes an opt-in scheme for Target’s 335,000 workers as well as plans at GoDaddy and Barclays in the US and the UK.
This could be the beginning of new bargaining behaviour. We are used to trading the privacy around our messages, photos and documents in return for free services from Google and Facebook. Now we will be tempted by free hardware to supply our employer and/or insurer with our health and fitness data. Something tells us our data is worth more than $300.