Fitness technology may have gone to the nextlevel. UnitedHealthcare has announced that Fitbit, producer ofhealth and fitness wearables, will produce a customized wearabledevice that will be incorporated into its UnitedHealthcare Motionwellness program.

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According to HRDive, the Fitbit Charge 2 will be integrated intothe program so that Motion members can track their progress ongoals in real time. In addition, the program allows them to earnfinancial rewards for improvements in their lifestyle. Fitbit saysin the report the partnership allows Motion program participants toearn as much as $1,500 in yearly awards for meeting dailygoals.

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UnitedHealthcare Motion is a three-tiered wellness program basedon “frequency, intensity and tenacity,” or F.I.T. Qualcomm Life, ahealth care connectivity platform, powers the Motion program, thereport says, adding that the real-time tracking capability providedby the Fitbit Charge 2 could help workers achieve fitness goalswhile still maintaining productivity.

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And it’s not the only program out there to use wearable healthtech, as interest grows in the concept. Insurer Aetna has teamedwith Apple, offering subsidies for the Apple Watch for employers and customers. Suchtechnology provides an aspect of gamification, which increases theappeal of wellness programs; that increases the likelihood thatparticipants will be more engaged and perhaps achieve betterresults.

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Subsidies permitted under an Equal Employment OpportunityCommission wellness program rule have been challenged in court byAARP, and there are concerns over whether programs are actuallyvoluntary or instead could be potentially discriminatory.

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While employers are allowed to give employees as much as 30percent of the coverage cost of a wellness program if they disclosepertinent health information, AARP argued instead that suchsubsidies amounted to coercion.

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AARP also says health information disclosure, as a breach ofprivacy, could be instrumental in discriminating against workers.But both arguments were dismissed by Judge John Bates of the U.S.District Court for the District of Columbia.

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The report says interest in such programs is likely to continueto increase during the coming year.

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