UnitedHealthcare is kicking off a program that aims to employ the Apple Watch to meet daily activity goals intended to improve members’ health status.

The health benefit company says members who meet daily walking goals can obtain the Apple Watch. The device will be integrated into UnitedHealthcare Motion, a national digital wellness program that provides eligible plan participants to activity trackers.

Meeting specific activity targets lets participants earn as much as $1,000 per year. The program measures three components of activity involving walking exercise:

  • Frequency: Completing 500 steps within a seven-minute span, six times per day, at least one hour apart.
  • Intensity: Completing 3,000 steps within 30 minutes.
  • Tenacity: Completing 10,000 total steps each day.

Eligible participants will be able to receive and start using Apple Watch, initially paying only tax and shipping for the device, with the option of applying program earnings toward its full purchase price, thus owning it within six months of participation.

Since the inception of UnitedHealthcare Motion, participants have collectively walked more than 180 billion steps and earned nearly $30 million in rewards. Among eligible employees, 66 percent registered their devices, with nearly two-thirds of those active with the program.

“UnitedHealthcare Motion is part of our consumer-focused strategy that is driving toward a simple, integrated, mobile-centric ecosystem that delivers value to consumers,” said Steve Nelson, CEO of UnitedHealthcare.

“Smart watches and activity trackers stand alongside transparency in physician selection and medical costs, easy virtual visits with healthcare professionals, and digital coaching and online wellness programs, all of which are designed to support consumers in enhancing their health and improving how they navigate the health care system,” Nelson adds.

UnitedHealthcare Motion is available to employers with self-funded and fully insured health plans nationwide. The program enables employees to earn up to $4 per day in financial incentives based on achieving activity goals.

Apple Watch is a health and fitness companion with intelligent coaching features, and water resistance, and now with Apple Watch Series 3, it also features an altimeter. The program’s F.I.T. targets are set in the UnitedHealthcare Motion app, which integrates with HealthKit to use data from Apple Watch to track daily goals.

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