Apple reaches first deal to subsidize Apple Watch costs through private Medicare plans

We’ve seen Apple Watch catch on with a handful of insurance providers so far. Now, CNBC reports that Devoted Health has become the first health insurer with private Medicare plans to offer a discounted Apple Watch as a benefit.

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Devoted Health is a start-up health insurer that says it wants to stand out among Medicare Advantage plans with a focus on “world class technology.” Back in January, a report said that Apple had started working with Medicare plan providers to subsidize the cost of Apple Watch hardware, and this deal with Devoted Health is seemingly the first to come to fruition.

As CNBC explains, Devoted Health will cover up to $150 per year in “wellness bucks for classes, programs, and wearable devices like an Apple Watch.” The $150 credit can go towards the $199 Apple Watch Series 3, as well as the new Apple Watch Series 5.

Wellness Bucks are essentially an allotment of spending that Devoted Health is giving its customers every year. In a statement, Devoted Health spokesperson Kenneth Baer said:

“We are thrilled to be the first Medicare Advantage plan to collaborate with Apple, and give our members the chance to use their Devoted Health Wellness bucks towards purchasing an Apple Watch. Using innovative technologies to improve the quality of care is core to our mission.”

Until today, Apple had only successfully reached arrangements like this for non-Medicare plans from the likes UnitedHealthcare and John Hancock. Aetna has also offered similar programs for discounting the Apple Watch for employees and insurance customers.

Expanding the reach of Apple Watch to those covered by private Medicare plans has the potential to help those who could benefit the most from the device’s capabilities. With features like fall detection, heart tracking, and more, it’s easy to see why a company like Devoted Health would want to give its customers access to that data.

Read the full report from CNBC here.

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Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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