Key wearable device and health care players Qualcomm, UnitedHealthcare and Fitbit are aiming to step up their corporate wellness game in a bid to offer financial incentives to get employees moving. Qualcomm, via its Qualcomm Life unit, and UnitedHealthcare at CES 2017 will outline plans to enable a bring your own wearable approach to corporate wellness plans. Qualcomm and UnitedHealthcare said they will expand UnitedHealthcare Motion, a wellness program that offers financial incentives to employees up to $1,500 a year. More: Fitbit secures corporate wellness deals with several major customers Fitbit combines corporate wellness offerings into new group health program Fitbit's challenge: Winning over Pebble developers, community According to Qualcomm Life, its technology will allow more activity trackers to be integrated into the UnitedHealthcare Motion program, which will be available in 40 states. For Fitbit, the key part of the deal is that its Charge 2 tracker will be custom integrated.
Fitbit is launching a new wellness program aimed at combining the company's wearables-based health offerings for businesses, weight loss clinics, health insurers, and clinical researchers. The fitness tracker giant said Fitbit Group Health provides software and services for organizations looking for strategies to implement wellness programs and other digital health initiatives. Essentially, the program brings all of Fitbit's corporate wellness offering under one umbrella, making it easier for Fitbit to market them and for organizations to procure them. "The launch of Fitbit Group Health is a natural evolution for us, given our success in the corporate wellness category. It positions the company to integrate more deeply into the population health space," said Woody Scal, Fitbit's chief business officer.
The mental health and wellness program in the Burbank Unified School District will continue at least another year after the school board renewed the district's contract with the Family Service Agency of Burbank, a local nonprofit agency, on Thursday. Wellness centers at John Burroughs and Burbank high schools provide a supportive environment, where students can walk in to share their thoughts and feelings with counselors from the Family Service Agency. For the 2017-18 school year, the district will pay $100,000 for counseling and administrative services at Burbank High, said Supt. A grant from the Local Education Agency will be used to pay for Burbank High's center. The Family Service Agency will cover $100,000 for Burroughs High's center, Hill added.
For Lisa Li Moye, the rewards of 70,000 steps taken over three months came in the form of a 70 gift card from her health insurance company. She spent the money on an organizer for her husband. "His stuff was everywhere," Moye, a 28-year-old resident of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, said -- his hats, keys, wallet. In the current health conscious, data-driven age, reasons for hitting the gym are no longer limited to the standard promises of feeling and looking better. Now, people increasingly have the option of racking up financial rewards and other perks through wellness programs offered by numerous insurers and employers.
We've reported before on the scam that is the workplace "wellness" program. These are ostensibly voluntary initiatives that aim to goad employees into healthier lifestyles -- say through diet, exercise and smoking cessation -- by offering them a discount on their health insurance premiums or some other benefit. A bill now making its way through Congress would give employers an even stronger hand in forcing workers to give up their privacy. The "Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act," which sailed through the House Committee on Education and the Workforce last week on a 22-17 party-line vote with Republicans in the majority, is "an ugly piece of legislation," warns Nicholas Bagley of the University of Michigan. The measure, he reports, would "effectively allow businesses to require their employees to disclose lots of sensitive medical data, including their genetic information."