For fans of the fitness tracking device Fitbit, there is a new model about to hit the market. However, this model is only available if your employer or health insurer is signed up with Fitbit.
According to CNBC, the new business-to-business wearable is called Inspire and will be available only to those employees and health insurance members who are also Fitbit customers. This means that for the average person who is looking to upgrade their Fitbit and wants to try out the new Inspire model, they will need to do so through participating health providers or hope that their employer will offer the device.
In a bid to prevent health issues rather than have to pay for expensive health-related illnesses later on down the track, Fitbit, along with Apple, have been arguing they can bring down health care costs by "improving overall wellness" in individuals.
The release of the new activity and sleep monitoring device was a quiet one, with some people noticing the Inspire model turning up on the Fitbit website without any fanfare.
"These special release trackers are available exclusively through Fitbit corporate, wellness, health plan, and health systems partners and customers of their organizations, participants, and members," Fitbit says about the product.While Fitbit also claims it is their cheapest device yet, the website does not include a price range. Currently, the most affordable Fitbit device on offer is the Alta, which has a recommended retail price of $99.95.
The Inspire device will offer heart rate, step tracking, sleep stages, calories burned, text alerts, reminders to move, and 24/7 heart rate monitoring options and are available as a wristband or a clip. It is believed that by offering a clip device, it may be more appealing to corporate users. USA Today notes that the device's color options are black and white.
"We built it as a program for digital health interventions," CEO James Park said in a recent interview.
Along with the new business-to-business device, Fitbit is also aiming to corner the senior market regarding wearable tracking devices through private Medicare plans. Park told CNBC that Fitbit was "now working with UnitedHealth to sell to members in 27 states through 42 of its plans."
Apple also appears ready to broach the corporate market with negotiations currently underway to subsidize its devices under private Medicare plans, according to CNBC. They also have a new app called Attain, which is designed for exclusive use by Aetna members. The app helps to encourage healthy behaviors such as getting more sleep every night and developing better eating habits. This new app also gives users the option to "earn their Apple Watch over a two-year period."