Photo: Brian Metzler
Wearable technology has evolved from headphones and Walkman’s to virtual reality goggles and GPS watches. One popular area of wearable technology is activity trackers: pedometers, heart rate monitors, fitness watches. You may be familiar with the Fitbit, Jawbone UP, Striiv, Garmin vivofit. Besides standalone devices, there are myriad smartphone apps one can use to track exercise, calories, and sleep. If you’re a gadget fan, though, read on for four different reviews of fitness trackers.
What if you weren’t just choosing a wearable for your personal fitness goals?
What if your health insurance premium was tied to data from your wearable? Say your employer starts a wellness program and provides you with a wearable fitness tracker (or a discount on one). Since you’ve signed up for the program, you’re willing to track your steps or sleep or other metric you’ve decided to improve upon for a period of time. If your company’s wellness program offers incentives tied to your insurance for participation, or achieving certain metrics, your wearable gives you a tool to help lower your insurance costs. Outside of employers, some insurance companies are now offering incentives (lower premiums) when customers who use wearable fitness trackers achieve certain personalized goals.
Now say you’re an employer, and you want to amp up your wellness program into a results-based program, where premium or HSA contributions are based upon employee wellness performance. Ideally, you should consult benefits counsel to make sure the data you gather and what you do with it is in compliance with applicable labor law, HIPAA, GINA, and the ADA. A key consideration: make sure you offer reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities when plotting the activities and methods in a results-based wellness program.
No matter what wearable fitness tracker you choose, and whether it’s tied to program or not, wearables are excellent tools to further you on your wellness journey, to help increase your awareness of your current fitness habits, and remind you to stick to your goals.
Do you have a wearable? What has been your experience?