The average American adult takes between 4,000 and 6,000 steps every day day. Over the last few years, ever since fitness trackers became so popular, people are much more cognizant of those daily steps. Now, health insurance companies are offering benefits for individuals who utilize these fitness wearables.
As you navigate health insurance open enrollment season, you may want to understand if your insurer offers benefits just for wearing your Fitbit. In fact, your health insurance provider may even give you a Fitbit.
According to National Public Radio (NPR), millions of Americans are using wearable fitness devices such as Fitbit in order to track an assortment of personal health information, not just steps. These trackers can monitor everything from sleep patterns and physical movement to heartbeats per minute and blood pressure.
Fitbit filed a patent for “portable monitoring devices and methods of operating same” in September 2011 (the patent was granted in May 2012). Here in the United States, new inventions are protected by patents for 20 years. Yet in just a few short years, these popular wearable fitness trackers have become ubiquitous. You’ll find these sleek little devices on the wrists of millions of Americans. Now, as part of a 2018 workplace wellness initiative, an estimated 6 million workers across the globe will receive wearable fitness devices, up from about 2 million in 2016.
The majority of these workplace wellness programs will offer employees discounted or free wearable fitness trackers and annual financial incentives ranging from $100 to more than $2,000, depending on the organization.
“It really encourages you to get up and move,” said Kathy Klute-Nelson, who was offered $300 off her yearly health insurance premiums if she committed to walking more every day. “I mean, how many times do you get to the end of the day, you’re in the office and you think, ‘Gosh, I didn’t really get up from my desk at all today.'”
Fitness wearable users who walk with moderate intensity and log around 10,000 steps a day can even earn more than $1,000 a year toward health care spending.
“The participation rates for people with chronic conditions — diabetes in particular — is actually significantly higher than for people without those conditions,” added Will Shanley, UnitedHealthcare spokesperson.
Here are some popular fitness wearables that will likely be flying off the shelves throughout this holiday season:
- Fitbit Versa
- Garmin Vivoactive 3
- Polar M430
- Fitbit Charge 3
- SUUNTO 3 Fitness
- Apple Watch Series 4
- Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro
- Huawei Band 2 Pro