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Apple Watch for cheap? Aetna may expand health subsidy

The health insurance provider is reportedly in talks to offer millions more subsidized Apple Watches.

Sean Hollister Senior Editor / Reviews
When his parents denied him a Super NES, he got mad. When they traded a prize Sega Genesis for a 2400 baud modem, he got even. Years of Internet shareware, eBay'd possessions and video game testing jobs after that, he joined Engadget. He helped found The Verge, and later served as Gizmodo's reviews editor. When he's not madly testing laptops, apps, virtual reality experiences, and whatever new gadget will supposedly change the world, he likes to kick back with some games, a good Nerf blaster, and a bottle of Tejava.
Sean Hollister
Sarah Tew/CNET

Well, this is a weird one. CNBC is reporting that health insurer Aetna has been having secret negotations with Apple to bring free or discounted Apple Watches to millions of covered employees. 

Admittedly, that sounds pretty great.

The only problem: There's nothing secret about that idea. Aetna publicly told us that it'd start subsidizing Apple Watches for employees on its health insurance plans back in September 2016, and CNET understands that's exactly what the company already did -- though admittedly only through "select large employers" that chose to participate in the program.

Still, it's possible that CNBC is right about the thrust of its reporting: that Aetna and Apple now intend to bring those subsidies to millions of additional people.

Aetna declined to comment. Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to multiple reports, the next Apple Watch could arrive as soon as this September and feature built-in LTE cellular connectivity. Read more about that here.