Apple teams with Aetna on app that rewards users for healthy living

People who meet activity goals could score an Apple Watch or gift cards.

Abrar Al-Heeti Technology Reporter
Abrar Al-Heeti is a technology reporter for CNET, with an interest in phones, streaming, internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. She's also worked for CNET's video, culture and news teams. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
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Apple has partnered with health insurance provider Aetna to create Attain, an app that rewards users for healthy behavior. 

Attain combines a person's health history with his or her Apple Watch activity to create personalized goals. Users who try to meet those goals, or succeed, earn points they can put toward gift cards or use to offset the cost of the Apple Watch. Weekly challenges let participants earn points for things like getting more sleep, increasing mindfulness and improving nutrition. 

The app tracks daily activity levels, suggests nutrition tips and offers a bedtime plan to help users develop better sleep habits. It also sends reminders for actions like getting a flu shot, scheduling a checkup or getting prescription refills. In addition, Attain will suggest lower-cost labs and centers for MRIs, scans and other tests.

"Every day, we receive emails and letters from people all over the world who have found great benefit by incorporating Apple Watch into their lives and daily routines," said Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams in a statement. "As we learn over time, the goal is to make more customized recommendations that will help members accomplish their goals and live healthier lives."

Attain will be available in the App Store in the spring. Participants in the program must be Aetna members with an iPhone 5S or later, or Apple Watch Series 1 or later.

The program is voluntary, and members can decide which information they want to share. All health data is encrypted. Attain's launch follows a 2016 collaboration between Apple and Aetna, which found that 90 percent of participants reported a health benefit from using the Apple Watch, according to the statement. 

The Apple Watch Series 4 introduced fall detection and an FDA-cleared EKG feature that warns wearers about abnormal heart rhythms -- features that could be especially useful for older users. The tech giant has previously worked with other insurers such as UnitedHealthcare, which last year launched a program offering free Apple Watches to people who meet certain walking goals. Insurer John Hancock also offers the Apple Watch at a discount to users with healthy lifestyles. In addition, Apple is reportedly working with private Medicare health plans to subsidize the Apple Watch for seniors.