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According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, a number of employees are set to get a pretty nice deal – an Apple Watch for only $25. There is, however, a pretty major catch to the deal – employees have to meet their fitness goals over two years or pay the full price of the device.
The deal is being offered through a health services group called Vitality Group, and is the latest attempt to try and incentivize good health and spur workers to be more active.
Employees of a number of firms, including Amgen, Inc., a biotechnology firm, DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc, a medical group, and Lockton Cos., an insurance firm. Life insurance policy holders at John Hancock Financial will also be able to get a device later this year, and will also have access to discounts on insurance premiums for reaching their goals.
Since the passing of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, companies have been offering larger and larger incentives to get healthy and fit. The Act essentially allows employers to pay employee fitness incentives that add up to 30 percent of the cost of health coverage. Firms can also offer up to 50 percent of coverage for programs to help employees stop smoking.
In fact, on average companies spent as much as $693 per employee on wellness programs in 2015, which was up from $594 in 2014, according to the Wall Street Journal via Fidelity Investments. The report also found that employers used incentives to encourage employees to get health screenings, basically allowing firms to gather data about workers health and potential health issues.
Of course, companies aren’t only offering Apple Watches to employees. Fitbit has said that it has over 1,000 corporate customers, which offer fitness trackers to their employees. Target, for example, offers discounted fitness trackers for 335,000 of its employees, aimed at getting them to move and exercise more.
It will be a pretty big deal for many employees to be getting an Apple Watch at such a great price. Normally the device costs at least $350, and its hard to imagine why someone wouldn’t want to get one at only $25. The device has quickly become the best selling smartwatch to date, and its likely to hold that crown for at least the foreseeable future.
Of course, one of the main advantages to the device is its fitness tracking capabilities. Fitness tracking has been an important part of many people’s lives, and it serves as a way for people to much more easily figure out how and what they need to do to remain healthy.
Still offering the Apple Watch is a step up from offering devices like those that Fitbit offers in many ways. Most of Fitbit’s devices are limited to fitness tracking and a few other smart features, however the Apple Watch is a full-fledged smartwatch, offering a range of other features beyond fitness tracking.
For example, one of the big draws to smartwatches in general is the fact that they offer notifications, meaning that users don’t have to pull out their smartphone every time they get a message, email, or other notification. Developers have also started creating new and innovative ways for users to use the Apple Watch. New apps include games, smart home controllers, productivity apps, and so on.
Still, fitness tracking is a prominent feature of what the Apple Watch offers. The device has a heart rate monitor, as well as an accelerometer, which is able to track things like steps, incline, and so on. It’s likely that we’ll see more and more programs such as this over the next few years, especially if the Affordable Care Act remains intact. While the offering of the Apple Watch is more than what other companies are likely to offer, the fact is we will continue to see an emphasis on health and fitness in many forms from now and into the future.