OPINION: After I heard insurers had been asking prospects to attach their health trackers in change for decrease premiums, it sounded extremely creepy.
Naturally, I signed up on the spot. I’ve spent the final two months feeding a firehose of my most delicate knowledge to AIA’s Vitality programme, simply to see what would occur.
The Vitality app now is aware of after I sleep. It is aware of what number of steps I take. It is aware of after I train. It is aware of after I do sure different actions that resemble train.
In change for steady disclosure of my bodily features, I’m the proud proprietor of 6700 factors. That places me on the bottom ‘bronze’ rewards tier, however silver is certainly in my sights, and gold is a definite chance.
To earn bonus factors, I can fill in a survey about my present well being, get a dental examination, a mole map, a flu shot, see an optometrist, a nutritionist, and so on.
That is the gamification of healthcare, and it is severely crafty. I now have a burning need to go get a four-point checkup of my ldl cholesterol, BMI, blood strain, and glucose – partly as a result of it is free, however largely as a result of if these metrics are within the wholesome vary, I may earn one other 10,000 factors.
That might get me nearer to the coveted gold or platinum standing, and unlock juicier rewards. Leaving apart numerous reductions on the likes of activewear and film tickets, somebody in obnoxiously good well being may earn 300 Airpoint a yr, and $260 of different cash-equivalents.
That makes it straightforward sufficient to offset the annual membership price of $138, with the intense financial savings coming from decrease premiums: in case you hold your self in good nick, you possibly can stand up to 20 per cent off well being and life insurance coverage.
However insurers do not supply these schemes out of the goodness of their hearts. They need you to reside lengthy and prosper, in order that they’ll hold charging you premiums till you are historical.
It is a win-win: you get rewarded for residing a more healthy way of life, and AIA makes more cash. Certain, it discriminates in favour of wholesome folks, but it surely’s not punitive: even when the one lifting you do includes beer cans, your premiums will not drop beneath the usual market price.
Which solely leaves the slight drawback of handing over your most intimate info to a giant company.
The excellent news is that this is not fairly as dystopian as I first thought. For one factor, AIA would not get any of your knowledge, and might’t use it for underwriting functions. All it is aware of is whether or not you’ve got reached bronze, silver, gold, or platinum standing.
It will probably nonetheless get the knowledge in a roundabout method – having nudged you to go get a checkup, it may entry your medical information within the typical vogue, based mostly on the phrases you agreed to once you took out the coverage. However that is nothing new.
Different vaguely encouraging factors: the Vitality firm AIA partnered with is just not some sketchy fly-by-night operator. It has been round for 20+ years, and says it will not disclose your knowledge to any third events for the needs of promoting, until you give consent.
And it is as much as you the way a lot info to reveal. I stuffed in a survey with all types of hideously revealing knowledge, as a result of it was price a bunch of factors, and I used to be curious what my ‘Vitality’ age was (I am 28, however discovered I am trapped within the decrepit physique of a 32-year-old).
Now that info is on the market on the earth endlessly, I simply must cross my fingers it isn’t used for nefarious functions, leaked, stolen, bought to 3rd events, or in any other case compromised. If it was, it may very well be used to create an extremely detailed profile of me: from what number of drinks I’ve per week, to my relationship with my household, to after I go to sleep.
Is it price it? From a strict monetary perspective, I might say no: my privateness is price a lot quite a lot of hundred a yr.
However the well being advantages are intriguing. The gamification of the app is surprisingly efficient: if it nudges me in the direction of getting boring checkups and taking a extra energetic oversight of my well being, that may be sufficient to tip the scales.
I am already the sort of annoying Fitbit-wearing freak who makes some extent of telling pals at any time when I beat their weekly step depend. Maybe it isn’t an excessive amount of of a stretch to inform the insurance coverage firm too.