New program offers free accidental death insurance to Apple Watch owners

Posted:
in Apple Watch
Consumers who own an Apple Watch are being offered $1,000 of accidental death insurance coverage at no cost through a new program from popular health app Cardiogram and two major insurance providers.




Launched on Thursday, the initiative grants Apple Watch owners guaranteed access to set-rate coverage provided by Amica Life and Greenhouse Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated (RGAx).

In addition to the $1,000 no-cost offer, users can upgrade to up to $500,000 of coverage for $9 to $41 per month.

Available to users living in Arizona, Georgia, Indiana and Wisconsin, the program is the latest development in a wider push to main-stream quantified self data, with health and life insurers now looking for ways to integrate data from wearable devices into their respective business models, according to Cardiogram co-founder Brandon Ballinger.

Evidence of that shift is readily available. UnitedHealthcare in March added the Apple Watch Series 3 to its Motion program, an initiative lets people deduct $1,000 per year from their insurance premiums if they meet fitness goals. Earlier this month John Hancock rolled out a similar plan when it expanded the Vitality "behavior change platform" to all life insurance policies.

Ballinger believes insurance providers are quickly realizing the need to shift from reactive to preventative medicine.

For example, the risk of getting into a car accident -- one of the leading causes of accidental death in the U.S., per the CDC -- is 2.5 times higher for people with undiagnosed sleep apnea, Ballinger notes, adding that Cardiogram last year found devices like Apple Watch can be used as a diagnostics tool to detect sleep apnea.

Previous research conducted by the app maker in partnership with the University of California, San Francisco, revealed wearables can detect early signs of diabetes and atrial fibrillation to a high degree of accuracy.

"The Apple Watch's heart rate sensor is transforming healthcare from reactive to preventive, creating the opportunity for life and health insurers to save dollars by saving lives," Ballinger told AppleInsider.

The suggestion is devices like Apple Watch, when used in conjunction with apps like Cardiogram, can help users lead healthier lives. For health and life insurance companies, that translates into potential reductions in hospital payouts and other related costs.

On the other hand, with little regulation on the use of quantified self data -- and the tools that gather such information -- there are fears that corporations might take advantage of burgeoning medical technology to more accurately assess underwriting risks. Such is the case with at-home DNA tests and the information they can provide health and life insurance providers.

Ballinger says no data is shared in the Cardiogram program without express user consent. Further, data gleaned from wearable devices is not used to change rates or deny coverage.

"We think wearables can fundamentally transform the way insurance is distributed and underwritten," said Farron Blanc, president of Greenhouse Insurance and vice president at RGAx. "More importantly, these tools may help people stay healthier longer."

The offer is available to owners of any wearable compatible with the Cardiogram app, which currently includes all Apple Watch versions, select Wear OS devices and certain Garmin smartwatches.

Those interested can apply in-app via a new "life insurance" section found in the profile tab or by tapping on the offer in the app's timeline.

Cardiogram is a free download from the iOS App Store.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,024member
    And referring to our previous discussion about this: it’s coming, like it or not.

    if it’s possible to reliably detect blood pressure and blood glucose levels non invasively, that will pretty much seal the fate of this. Insurance companies will require them.
    edited September 27 claire1watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 18
    melgross said:
    And referring to our previous discussion about this: it’s coming, like it or not.

    if it’s possible to reliably detect blood pressure and blood glucose levels non invasively, that will pretty much seal the fate of this. Insurance companies will require them.
    If not required, there will probably be a significant financial penalty for not having continuous monitoring.
  • Reply 3 of 18
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,024member
    melgross said:
    And referring to our previous discussion about this: it’s coming, like it or not.

    if it’s possible to reliably detect blood pressure and blood glucose levels non invasively, that will pretty much seal the fate of this. Insurance companies will require them.
    If not required, there will probably be a significant financial penalty for not having continuous monitoring.
    No doubt. Insurance companies are all about reducing their payouts. If wearing one of these can reduce that below their cost of providing it, that’s it.
    SpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 18
    ...but, how does an accidental death policy help me?
    tokyojimuclaire1GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 5 of 18
    melgross said:
    melgross said:
    And referring to our previous discussion about this: it’s coming, like it or not.

    if it’s possible to reliably detect blood pressure and blood glucose levels non invasively, that will pretty much seal the fate of this. Insurance companies will require them.
    If not required, there will probably be a significant financial penalty for not having continuous monitoring.
    No doubt. Insurance companies are all about reducing their payouts. If wearing one of these can reduce that below their cost of providing it, that’s it.
    Pretty sure that's all illegal under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which requires that premiums must be the same for everyone  of a given age or gender (except smokers) based on community rating.
    edited September 27 zoetmb
  • Reply 6 of 18
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,710member
    NemWan said:
    Pretty sure that's all illegal under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which requires that premiums must be the same for everyone  of a given age or gender (except smokers) based on community rating.
    In most US states there are laws regulating life insurance policies mostly regarding grace periods, cancelation for late payments, false statements on the application, etc. They usually don't address what is known as Evidence of Insurability.

    A company offering life insurance does not have 'patients' nor do they participate in the ACA. We're talking about life insurance not health insurance. The company will sometimes ask a potential customer to provide written permission for a request of their medical records, which a physician usually cooperates with. What is in those records can determine if the company chooses to issue a life insurance policy or not. Of course, the company receiving the records must comply with all privacy laws. If a policy holder agrees to share their ongoing stats from the watch as a requirement for continuation of insurance coverage, that is their prerogative, but if they refuse, the insurance company could potentially cancel their policy. 
    edited September 27
  • Reply 7 of 18
    It’s a marketing gimmick.

    It’s to get the foot in the door to up-sell “real” life insurance.  They’re figuring people that own the Apple Watch have the money to pay for premium life insurance plans.
  • Reply 8 of 18
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,024member
    NemWan said:
    melgross said:
    melgross said:
    And referring to our previous discussion about this: it’s coming, like it or not.

    if it’s possible to reliably detect blood pressure and blood glucose levels non invasively, that will pretty much seal the fate of this. Insurance companies will require them.
    If not required, there will probably be a significant financial penalty for not having continuous monitoring.
    No doubt. Insurance companies are all about reducing their payouts. If wearing one of these can reduce that below their cost of providing it, that’s it.
    Pretty sure that's all illegal under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which requires that premiums must be the same for everyone  of a given age or gender (except smokers) based on community rating.
    No, it’s not, and the evidence is that a number of insurance companies have been doing this for at least a couple of years now.
    SpamSandwichGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 9 of 18
    claire1claire1 Posts: 446unconfirmed, member
    melgross said:
    And referring to our previous discussion about this: it’s coming, like it or not.

    if it’s possible to reliably detect blood pressure and blood glucose levels non invasively, that will pretty much seal the fate of this. Insurance companies will require them.
    I agree with you but "required" is a little over the top.

    I believe people will get discounts for having an Apple Watch but not a penalty for not having one. 
  • Reply 10 of 18
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,024member
    claire1 said:
    melgross said:
    And referring to our previous discussion about this: it’s coming, like it or not.

    if it’s possible to reliably detect blood pressure and blood glucose levels non invasively, that will pretty much seal the fate of this. Insurance companies will require them.
    I agree with you but "required" is a little over the top.

    I believe people will get discounts for having an Apple Watch but not a penalty for not having one. 
    Times change. It will begin as a discount, but as we see with Hancock, right now, new policies will require it.
  • Reply 11 of 18
    claire1 said:
    melgross said:
    And referring to our previous discussion about this: it’s coming, like it or not.

    if it’s possible to reliably detect blood pressure and blood glucose levels non invasively, that will pretty much seal the fate of this. Insurance companies will require them.
    I agree with you but "required" is a little over the top.

    I believe people will get discounts for having an Apple Watch but not a penalty for not having one. 
    Discount or penalty? It's really all a matter of semantics. You'll be paying more for one policy, and less for another, regardless of what they call it. The rates for both will be adjusted to provide a profit.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 12 of 18
    NemWan said:
    melgross said:
    melgross said:
    And referring to our previous discussion about this: it’s coming, like it or not.

    if it’s possible to reliably detect blood pressure and blood glucose levels non invasively, that will pretty much seal the fate of this. Insurance companies will require them.
    If not required, there will probably be a significant financial penalty for not having continuous monitoring.
    No doubt. Insurance companies are all about reducing their payouts. If wearing one of these can reduce that below their cost of providing it, that’s it.
    Pretty sure that's all illegal under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which requires that premiums must be the same for everyone  of a given age or gender (except smokers) based on community rating.
    That's likely true.   But since it was designed to prevent insurers from pricing those with preexisting conditions out of the insurance market, it would be an easy fix (or it should be!) to enable discounts for healthy lifestyles.

    Wearables tracking healthy lifestyles was in its infancy when the ACA was written 10 years ago.  It effectively did not exist.  But, fortunately, times they are a changing.
  • Reply 13 of 18
    bonobob said:
    claire1 said:
    melgross said:
    And referring to our previous discussion about this: it’s coming, like it or not.

    if it’s possible to reliably detect blood pressure and blood glucose levels non invasively, that will pretty much seal the fate of this. Insurance companies will require them.
    I agree with you but "required" is a little over the top.

    I believe people will get discounts for having an Apple Watch but not a penalty for not having one. 
    Discount or penalty? It's really all a matter of semantics. You'll be paying more for one policy, and less for another, regardless of what they call it. The rates for both will be adjusted to provide a profit.
    Ok, true...
    But when applied to healthcare we all win.   Well all of us except the coach potato devouring another  CocaCola and pizza.

    We are spending $3 trillion a year of which 75% goes to treat the effects of unhealthy lifestyles.   In effect, we all pay for those who choose to let the doctor treat their disease rather than work to prevent it.  But, it will be a tough system to break:
    -- Big Agriculture profits selling unhealthy foods
    -- Health Insurance providers profit by treating the effects of those unhealthy foods and sedentary living.
    -- Insurers profit when they get to raise rates to pay the those treatments.

    It seems that its a Win-Win-Win-Lose situation (and we, the fat & sick Americans going broke paying for it are the losers).
  • Reply 14 of 18
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,024member
    bonobob said:
    claire1 said:
    melgross said:
    And referring to our previous discussion about this: it’s coming, like it or not.

    if it’s possible to reliably detect blood pressure and blood glucose levels non invasively, that will pretty much seal the fate of this. Insurance companies will require them.
    I agree with you but "required" is a little over the top.

    I believe people will get discounts for having an Apple Watch but not a penalty for not having one. 
    Discount or penalty? It's really all a matter of semantics. You'll be paying more for one policy, and less for another, regardless of what they call it. The rates for both will be adjusted to provide a profit.
    It depends on how you look at it. If you’re paying $8,000 a year, and they say they will drop that to 7,600 if you get the watch, that’s a discount. If you’re new, and given the choice, that still a discount from the standard pricing.

    if eventually, most people are on the newer discounted plan with the watch, that becomes the new standard, and newer entrees will then be paying a premium for not having the watch plan. They may not be able to get a plan at all, as we see with what Hancock is already doing now.
    edited September 28
  • Reply 15 of 18
    melgross said:
    And referring to our previous discussion about this: it’s coming, like it or not.

    if it’s possible to reliably detect blood pressure and blood glucose levels non invasively, that will pretty much seal the fate of this. Insurance companies will require them.
    Sure. That musty work well on dog... lol They may require whatever they want, but lawsuits will make sure you cannot seal it. Not everybody wants Apple devices and law cannot mandate that mobile is required to have those monitors. that much for commercial business trying to force something on individuals.
  • Reply 16 of 18
    And that is an achievement on the real level to push our civilization. Not just bunch of apps and features towards some hype driven crowd that pays.
    melgross said:
    claire1 said:
    melgross said:
    And referring to our previous discussion about this: it’s coming, like it or not.

    if it’s possible to reliably detect blood pressure and blood glucose levels non invasively, that will pretty much seal the fate of this. Insurance companies will require them.
    I agree with you but "required" is a little over the top.

    I believe people will get discounts for having an Apple Watch but not a penalty for not having one. 
    Times change. It will begin as a discount, but as we see with Hancock, right now, new policies will require it.
    Times change, but that does not mean that all companies will require that knowing that people may not want those devices. Nobody is foolish to lose some market. Also there will be lawsuits. It is just like care rental companies wanted to monitor speeds. Some learned hard way in courts.
  • Reply 17 of 18
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,024member
    melgross said:
    And referring to our previous discussion about this: it’s coming, like it or not.

    if it’s possible to reliably detect blood pressure and blood glucose levels non invasively, that will pretty much seal the fate of this. Insurance companies will require them.
    Sure. That musty work well on dog... lol They may require whatever they want, but lawsuits will make sure you cannot seal it. Not everybody wants Apple devices and law cannot mandate that mobile is required to have those monitors. that much for commercial business trying to force something on individuals.
    Very funny, well, not really. It doesn’t matter what you like. They don’t really care. But if other devices also can do it, reliably, they’ll likely offer a choice.

    as to lawsuits, forget it. If they decide to do this, as Hancock is now doing, they will be allowed to do it. Insurance companies have been putting restrictions on what people do for many years.

    we now have this black boxes in automobiles, which nobody wanted. Like it or not, monitoring will become a requirement.
  • Reply 18 of 18
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,024member
    And that is an achievement on the real level to push our civilization. Not just bunch of apps and features towards some hype driven crowd that pays.
    melgross said:
    claire1 said:
    melgross said:
    And referring to our previous discussion about this: it’s coming, like it or not.

    if it’s possible to reliably detect blood pressure and blood glucose levels non invasively, that will pretty much seal the fate of this. Insurance companies will require them.
    I agree with you but "required" is a little over the top.

    I believe people will get discounts for having an Apple Watch but not a penalty for not having one. 
    Times change. It will begin as a discount, but as we see with Hancock, right now, new policies will require it.
    Times change, but that does not mean that all companies will require that knowing that people may not want those devices. Nobody is foolish to lose some market. Also there will be lawsuits. It is just like care rental companies wanted to monitor speeds. Some learned hard way in courts.
    Don’t be naive. When they see they will save money, they will all offer it. It will be a standard requirement.
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