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UnitedHealth wants to pay consumers for healthy behavior

Pilot with iPhone app offers rewards to customers who hit fitness goals

UnitedHealth is currently developing a new app that would pay users for maintaining healthy behavior, including eating well, relaxing, exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, MedCity News reported.

The nation's largest insurer is piloting its iPhone app, Reward Me, in Arizona and Illinois. The app offers users different types of rewards when they reach certain goals. As the company says on its website for Reward Me, UnitedHealth appreciates what consumers do every day to stay healthy.

"We wanted to acknowledge what people were doing every day to stay healthy," Kirk Pion, vice president and innovation champion for UnitedHealth, told MedCity News.

UnitedHealth also hopes the Reward Me app will help it make health insurance more consumer-friendly. "We can show people the value of insurance beyond a claim," Pion said. "We're trying to say, even if you don't use healthcare services, there's a good reason for you to have insurance."

The rewards UnitedHealth offers vary depending on the markets and the retailers that partner with the insurer, but Pion said they include discounts of clothing lines such as Puma as well as deals on yoga classes, Quiznos or Jamba Juice. The rewards are "all targeted toward healthier options," he added.

"You're getting something just for being a member. All you have to do is sign up," he said. "It's getting that immediate benefit." Plus, the rewards and incentives incresase the more someone uses Reward Me, Pion said.

UnitedHealth has integrated Reward Me with its price transparency tool, Health4Me. The insurer recently upgraded Health4Me to allow for mobile payments and wearables, FierceMobileHealthcare previously reported.

It will continue the pilot and add new markets throughout the year, and UnitedHealth might launch a bigger, company-wide rollout for the app by early next year, Pion said. When that happens, it will also develop an Android app.

Other insurers are starting to reward members for achieving fitness and wellness goals. This year, Oscar Health is giving members a free Misfit Flash and offering Amazon gift cards to those who exceed their goals.

To learn more:
- check out the Reward Me website
- read the MedCity News article

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UnitedHealth puts robust price transparency tools in consumers' hands
UnitedHealth: 3 ways to better engage members
Oscar Health to give members free wearable fitness tracker