Holiday shopping is right around the corner, and at the top of many people’s list is a wearable device. Smart watch and wearable device technology have taken a big step forward in the world of health and quality of life management in recent months. Some insurers and health care professionals are weighing in on what’s being called “Mobile Health Management.”
During Apple’s keynote address in September, where all the technology giant’s latest product upgrades debut each year, it was announced that the new version of the Apple Watch now offers, among other things, heart monitoring. This new EKG element allows you to track your biometrics as you go through your day to help you manage and monitor your health while motivating you to walk, swim, work and rest; and the insurance industry is all ears.
Imagine being able to check your wrist for your blood pressure and stress quotient, and manage diseases such as diabetes and heart problems, all while keeping yourself accountable with a running look at your weight-to-height ratios and results from your workouts. Furthermore, this innovative technology offers a warning system for live-at-home seniors with the ability to indicate whether a fall has taken place, thus improving their safety and quality of independent living.
It’s a win-win idea for insurance companies and their customers, as both wish to improve client health and life spans. With 70% of the U.S. population being overweight, wellness is at the forefront of their minds, and there are lots of opportunities for insurers to use this data. From the possibility of risk assessment in underwriting, to the ability to identify highly fit, healthy consumers, to supporting clients in their quest for chronic disease prevention while offering incentives to healthy members, the future of wearable wellness seems bright.
Meeting pre-determined fitness goals is not a new idea, but doing it through a wearable device is now changing lives with increased accountability, motivating wearers to become healthier, through monitored behavioral change, and they are becoming increasingly popular worldwide. In 2017, there were 125.5 million wearable devices sold, primarily among the 18-34 year old demographic.
Insurers are paying attention, and some companies such as John Hancock and UnitedHealthcare are already offering financial incentives for wellness participation. It’s a unique reward strategy that benefits both insurer and insured, fundamentally changing how we measure and manage our lives.
As beneficial as this technology can be, some privacy concerns have been raised. Unlike medical records, wearable device data is not covered under the privacy rules established by HIPAA. But if you’re willing to provide your daily workout data to your insurance company for a discounted rate on health or life insurance, this new technology offers a fun way to keep yourself healthy, save some money and meet personal goals, which can be conquered thru a combination of diet, exercise and sleep; all monitored right from your wrist.
The wearable health monitor is causing a revolution in health care, and your insurance company will now participate in that care. A healthier you, benefits everyone. What’s not to like? Is this the right holiday gift for your employees?
For questions on whether your insurance company offers these incentives, give us a call.