Apple has reportedly held secret talks with Aetna to bring the tech giant’s health-orientated, fitness tracking smartwatch to the health care insurer’s millions of customers.
The talks surround Aetna offering either a free or discounted Apple Watch to its 23m members as part of one or more of its insurance plans. The insurer already offers an Apple Watch to its 50,000 employees as part of its corporate wellness program.
Meetings took place in Southern California on Thursday and Friday (11 and 12 August), reports CNBC, citing three people familiar with the matter. People in attendance are said to have included executives from Aetna and Apple, as well as hospital chief medical information officers from across the country.
Aetna aims to use the smartwatches to increase the interest of its customers in a healthier lifestyle and a better tracking of diet, and has a proposed timeline of early next year to begin offering the Apple Watches to members.
Apple sat in third place in global smartwatch sales in Q2 2017, behind Xiaomi and Fitbit, according to market analyst firm Canalys. The Cupertino, California-based company sold 2.7m units, though this number is expected to increase significantly when Apple launches the next edition of the Apple Watch with built-in cellular capabilities later this year.