Swiss Insurance Company Will Charge Higher Premiums For Lazy People
Tracking customers’ sedentary lifestyles with Fitbit means money
In June, Swiss insurance provider, CSS Insurance announced that it would launch a pilot program to monitor its customers’ digital pedometers. Now that project is nearly halfway completed, the company’s higher-ups report that the results have been overwhelmingly positive—so positive, in fact, that the provider may soon start charging higher premiums for those who don’t meet their daily step quota or choose not to participate in the program, according to the Swiss news organization, The Local.
The pilot program, called MyStep, is the first of its kind by any insurer in Europe. The company monitors the step count of 2,000 people using digital pedometers like Fitbits or Apple Watches. That information is regularly synced with CSS’ online portal. This works for both the insurer and the customer, the company reasons: Customers can take more ownership over their health and push themselves to complete the recommended 10,000 steps per day (though they could find the same information on their Fitbit). And the insurance company can charge more for those who don’t meet it. The pilot program is also intended to see how much information customers are willing to share with their insurance providers, The Local reports, and it looks like they’re willing to share a lot if it means lower premiums.
This may be the first time insurers directly monitor their customers’ health data, but it certainly won’t be the last; a number of health insurance providers think it’s inevitable that customers will hand over their data. One insurance data expert even predicted to the newspaper Blick that we may have nanochips implanted in our arms to continuously update our online activity profiles for insurance companies. And they may be right—as healthcare costs rise and a large percentage of the population remains obese, it may seem unfair for two people to pay the same amount in premiums if one is much more active than the other.
It’s only a matter of time before similar programs make their way to the U.S.—our healthcare is the most expensive in the world, and insurance companies are constantly on the lookout for new ways to pay for it. Get ready to start running around your living room in circles at night to meet that 10,000-step quota.