How Many Steps Did You Take Today? Insurance Companies Want To Know
Using technology to get in shape and improve your health isn’t a new concept, as people have been using wearable trackers like the Fitbit for years now. But what is rather new is the idea that some insurance companies want access to the information these fitness trackers are collecting. And with your permission, they’ll get it. So, Is it worth letting your insurance know how many steps you took. Here’s what you need to know about the prospect of handing over this kind of information to your insurance company.
What Information Do Insurers Want?
First, you should be clear about what insurance companies are interested in when it comes to your wearable trackers. For the most part, they want information about your health, specifically daily updates on it. This could be as simple as the number of steps you’ve taken and how many calories you have burned.
But some fitness trackers also monitor your heart rate, which would give insurers an idea of your current heart health and whether it’s improving or not. Insurers might also want to see your exercise log to find out if you exercise the recommended three times per week. And if the fitness tracker’s app has a food journal that you use, insurers may want access to that to see how many calories you eat on a daily basis. Basically, the more health data you can offer, the better, at least according to some insurers.
Why Do They Want This Data, and Why Should You Consider Offering It?
So why are insurance companies so interested in the data from your wearable tracker? The main benefit for them is the ability to see how fit and healthy you are. This can help them decide on what benefits to offer you when it comes to your health insurance or life insurance policy, as well as how much to charge for your premium.
After all, if your fitness tracker data shows that you’re more sedentary than the average person, and that your heart rate soars to an unhealthy range when you do get some steps in, your insurance company might see that insuring you could be a risk. In this case, they might need to raise your rates or reduce your benefits altogether. On the other hand, if you seem to be in great shape and are even improving your health, your rates could go down and you might even be rewarded in other ways, such as with free gifts from your insurance company. This is because insurers save money when they insure healthy people, so they’re happy to encourage and reward people for improving their health–and the data from wearable trackers can make that possible.
How Can You Benefit from Sharing Your Health Data?
If you’re not sure if you should let your insurer have access to your steps, heart rate and other health information, consider how you could benefit from allowing this. As long as you’re in good shape, or at least planning to improve your health and fitness, you have a chance of being rewarded by your insurer for making progress. Not only will you likely get reduced rates, but you might also be eligible for additional rewards.
For example, John Hancock’s life insurance customers have the option to sign up for the Vitality program in which they let the company see their Fitbit data. In exchange, they have the chance to get a 15 percent reduction on their premium. Plus, they can earn points for exercising and participating in fitness events, such as a race, and they can then redeem those point for gift cards to certain stores. And with this program, the Fitbit wrist monitor is free, allowing any customer to join the program if they’d like.
And that’s just one example of rewards you can get for sharing your fitness data with an insurer. Another example is Oscar, which is a health insurance company that gives customers a Misfit Flash fitness band that can track physical activity. Customers can earn rewards, such as Amazon gift cards, when they reach particular goals that might include 10,000 steps in a day or moving every half hour. Then there’s Optima Health, which gives customers a free Fitbit to wear so they can track and share their information related to nutrition, physical activity, and weight loss. In exchange for this data, they get cash rewards of up to $275 per year. For instance, they can get $50 for 21 days of nutrition tracking, and they can make more from meeting step goals, filling out health surveys, and more.
At this point, it seems most life and health insurance providers have some sort of program that offers rewards in exchange for health data from wearable fitness trackers. If you’re interested in improving your fitness while also reducing your insurance premiums or earning gift cards to your favorite stores, a program of this kind may be right for you.