Later this year, South Africa's largest health insurer will be offering U.S. consumers the opportunity to receive a free Apple Watch. At the same time, Americans will be improving their health, and getting discounts on products including insurance. Discovery Health's Vitality program will be offered to consumers in the states via insurance firm John Hancock. The incentive-based plan rewards members who make healthy choices by giving them discounts on movie and airline tickets, travel bundles and insurance premiums. Members can also earn a free Apple Watch.
The Vitality program is already over 15-years old in South Africa. Since Discovery Health started using the Apple Watch as a reward, 17,000 people in the country have already earned one. Not only is getting a free Apple Watch a great incentive for making healthy choices, the timepiece tracks your exercises and heart rate, calculates the number of calories you've burned while active, and provides you with detailed information when you're cycling, running and more.
Right now, the program has been imported to the U.S. for employees of biotech firm Amgen, medical group DaVita HealthCare Partners, and insurance brokerage firm Lockton. At the heart of the program is the idea that people will make healthier choices if they are rewarded by doing so. In this case, one of the rewards itself (the Apple Watch) can further improve the health of members.
If John Hancock's Vitality program becomes a success for the company, and for the customers who use it, the plan could be the most important export from South Africa surpassing gold, diamonds and other precious metals.