Fitbit offers new wearables to UnitedHealthcare participants

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UnitedHealthcare plan participants are getting access to a new Fitbit device.

Fitbit has expanded its partnership with the insurer to provide the Charge 3 wearable device as a buy-up option to eligible participants in the UnitedHealthcare Motion program, the companies said Tuesday. The wearable device maker’s Inspire HR device is also expected to be offered through the program later this year.

Wearable device options “are an important resource to help drive participation and engagement in our program, particularly among people managing chronic conditions,” says Paul Sterling, vice president of emerging products for UnitedHealthcare in a statement.

See also: Fitbit launches new wearables for employers, health plans

UnitedHealthcare Motion is an employer-sponsored program designed for employees enrolled in high-deductible health plans. Employees in the program have the potential to earn more than $1,000 per year by meeting daily walking goals. Participants have walked a combined 272 billion steps and earned more than $43 million in incentives, Fitbit says.

The program is available nationally for large and mid-sized employers with some availability for smaller companies. The Apple Watch is also compatible with the program.

"After more than two years, Fitbit devices continue to prove popular among UnitedHealthcare Motion program participants, helping encourage sustained and positive behavior change,” says Adam Pellegrini, general manager of Fitbit Health Solutions in a statement. “Our collaboration with UnitedHealthcare on this successful wearable device walking program and other health initiatives continues to demonstrate the important role wearable technology can play in helping people on their path toward better health.”

Fitbit has partnered with insurers in the past to offer their devices to plan participants. The company offers its Inspire and Inspire HR devices through 100 health plans.

Integrated benefit network Solera Health also made Fitbit devices available to its more than 100,000 diabetes prevention program participants, including Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. The company conducted an analysis with 1,700 participants enrolled in its program and found that those who used wearables lost a larger percentage of their starting weight and were more active than non-Fitbit participants.

Employers can also offer the devices directly to their workers. Adobe, Domino’s Pizza and Limeade are just a few of the companies offering Fitbits.

See also: Fitbit expands offerings to new employers, health plans

Research shows that wearable devices can help employers get a better sense of worker health. Employers including BP and and Emory University have had success with wearable programs in the past. An analysis from health data company Springbuk found that employees who opted to use wearable devices cost on average $1,242 less than non-wearable users.

UnitedHealthcare Motion participants on average log nearly 12,000 steps per day. Individuals with chronic conditions were 20% more likely to participate in the program and those with diabetes were 40% more likely to participate, according to an analysis by the companies.

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