– Fitbit is partnering with its first Medicaid provider in an effort to improve mHealth adoption in a population sorely in need of connected health resources.
Members will be eligible to receive the device once they complete their annual diabetic retinal exam (DRE).
“We work with the nation’s leading health plans and employers to make Fitbit devices and services available to wider segments of the population,” Amy McDonough, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Fitbit Health Solutions, said in a recent e-mail. “This new partnership with WellCare is an example of our efforts to make health more accessible, and marks the first time in our company’s history that we are working with a Medicaid plan. It’s an important step because, even though one in five people in the US get their healthcare through Medicaid, the latest health technology has not always been available to this population.”
Fitbit is the largest among a group of consumer-facing companies aiming to add clinically relevant mHealth functions to what has traditionally been a health and wellness market. With fitness trackers and smartwatches – and, in the future, sensor-embedded clothing and accessories – they’re aiming for what McDonough calls the “whole-person approach,” which not only includes physical activity but moods, sleep and nutrition.
“It’s not just about empowering users with a device that enables them to understand their health,” she, said in a recent blog. “It’s about giving them the tools they need to make long-term behavior changes, providing effective guidance and services that keep them engaged, and cultivating a community of supporters who are as invested in the progress of their peers as they are in their individual health journeys.”
Also this year, Fitbit’s mHealth wearables will be included in Medicare Advantage plans offered by three different insurers, including UnitedHealthcare.