updated 04:37 pm EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Tech could be used to keep premiums, expenditures down
Apple is talking with at least two insurance companies about its HealthKit platform in iOS 8, according to Bloomberg. These include Humana and UnitedHealth, the latter being the US' biggest such firm. It's not yet clear what the parties might have in mind.
Because the Affordable Care Act allows insurance companies to spend up to 30 percent of premium revenue on rewards for healthy behavior, however, they may be interested in tracking HealthKit data as a means of encouraging people to exercise more, improve their heart rate, and/or lose weight. While that might result in reduced costs and cheaper premiums, it could still prove controversial, since insurers might theoretically use the same data to raise rates for customers engaged in riskier behaviors. The accuracy of health and fitness accessories can also sometimes be questionable.
HealthKit and iOS 8 should formally launch next month. Apple is expected to join the fitness accessory market itself with the iWatch, which in addition to syncing with iPhones should have a number of onboard sensors. That device is anticipated sometime this fall.