Wearing a fitness tracking device could earn you cash from your health insurance company. While at first, this sounds lucrative for the people who participate, and good for the companies that want healthier insurance customers, it’s not quite so simple.
Under the program, people who have certain health insurance coverage plans with UnitedHealthcare (NYSE: UNH) can elect to wear a Fitbit (NYSE: FIT) activity tracker and share their data with the insurance company.
The data would be analyzed by Qualcomm Life (Nasdaq: QCOM), a company that processes medical data from wireless sensors for doctors, hospitals and insurance companies. Depending on how active participants are, as measured by the Fitbit, they could earn as much as $1,500 toward health care services each year.
Before we celebrate this new partnership, though, it’s important to consider potential costs to the patients. We are not far from days when wearable health devices will be able to diagnose illnesses.
While this is not legal now, corporate partnerships like this one with UnitedHealthcare and Fitbit could pave the way for insurance companies to use fitness tracker data to deny coverage or hike up rates for consumers.