How to get an Apple Watch for free through your health insurance

Apple Watch incentive program through John Hancock Vitality Plus
(Image credit: John Hancock)

Do you know how to get an Apple Watch for free from health insurance? It’s OK if you don’t — we’ll explain all the ways you can get an Apple Watch for free (or on a major discount) depending on your insurance plan.

Perhaps the best Apple Watch deals come from insurance provider incentives. Of course, not everyone is eligible for these incentives, which are often designed to encourage regular activity among older populations. Apple’s smartwatch is also able to call emergency services via fall detection and monitor heart health by following signs of atrial fibrillation. In fact, the iPhone and Apple Watch are becoming vital health devices.

Understanding how to use the Apple Watch can make it more convenient to take care of yourself, whether it’s closing your Apple Watch rings or knowing how to use the Apple Watch Blood Oxygen app

But with the flagship Apple Watch 7 starting at $399, it’s not the most affordable health assistant. That’s one of the reasons a handful of health insurance providers devised programs to get the Apple Watch on its customers' wrists for less. Some let users “earn” their Apple Watch by getting consistent exercise, while other providers offer dedicated wellness discounts that can partially finance a new smartwatch.

How to get a free Apple Watch through health insurance

Before you look into getting your Apple Watch for free from insurance, you’ll want to figure out the best Apple Watch for your needs. Not all the Apple Watch models on the market have the same features, so be sure to check out our guides to the Apple Watch 7 vs. Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch SE vs. Apple Watch 3.

Also, the health insurance providers listed below all advertise their Apple Watch programs (or in the case of BlueCross BlueShield, offer concrete alternatives.) If your health insurance isn’t included here, that doesn’t mean you can’t get an Apple Watch for free or for less. Consult your health insurance providers about your options, it’s possible you’re eligible for a lesser-known rebate.

Aetna

Aetna, one of the country’s largest health insurance providers, offers one of the most compelling programs to obtain a free Apple Watch. It’s called Attain by Aetna (opens in new tab). This promotion encourages eligible Aetna customers to request an Apple Watch, and they’ll get their smartwatch shipped to them. Customers must then “earn” their Apple Watch by meeting their daily or weekly activity goals, paying off the watch’s value. The Attain app will help customers track their goals and keep track of earned dollars. 

Alternatively, if you already own an Apple Watch, you can use the Attain app to earn gift cards for your activity. Amazon, Best Buy and CVS gift cards are among the options.

UnitedHealthCare 

UnitedHealthCare is another major health insurance provider that runs an Apple Watch promotion. Like those enrolled in Attain by Aetna, UnitedHealthCare Motion (opens in new tab) members can earn an Apple Watch by walking it off. In addition, all UnitedHealthCare members are eligible for a free year of Apple Fitness Plus, Apple’s on-demand workout service. It’s an easy way to set up for Apple Fitness Plus for free. But to clarify, only Motion members can request an Apple Watch.

John Hancock

John Hancock is a life insurance company, but still has an attractive free Apple Watch offer. The John Hancock Vitality Plus (opens in new tab) membership tier lets customers earn their Apple Watch for almost free. The up-front price for the latest Apple Watch is $25 plus tax. Over 24 months, customers owe monthly installments towards the remaining balance. But the more you exercise each month, the lower your monthly payment amount. If you earn enough Vitality Points every month, you’ll end up making no additional payments.

If you’re not committed to owning an Apple Watch, John Hancock Vitality Plus also offers a complimentary Amazon Halo Band and a free, three-year Halo membership (total value of $244), as well as complimentary Fitbit devices.

Medicare via Devoted Health

Devoted Health was the first private medicare provider to launch a Medicare Advantage plan for Apple Watch. While customers won’t be able to get an Apple Watch entirely for free, Devoted Health will reimburse $150 off in most cases. That’s a massive discount, and much better than any deals we’ve seen outside of health insurance.

The subsidy, called Wellness Bucks from Devoted Health (opens in new tab), can actually apply to any of the best smartwatches, best fitness trackers or other wearable devices. Customers can also reimburse gym memberships or fitness classes up to $150.

BlueCross BlueShield

BlueCross BlueShield does not currently offer any means to finance or earn an Apple Watch. That said, we included it on this list in case you could be convinced to use one of the best Fitbit devices. With Blue365 you can save up to 20% on Fitbit fitness trackers and Fitbit smartwatches (opens in new tab) (including the top-rated Fitbit Sense) by upping your daily activity, making this one of the best Fitbit deals around that will also help you get in shape. 

Check out our guide to Apple Watch vs. Fitbit to see which wearable brand is right for you. And be sure to visit our smartwatch buying guide for more information and tips on smartwatch shopping.

Kate Kozuch is an editor at Tom’s Guide covering smartwatches, TVs and everything smart-home related. Kate also appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account (opens in new tab), which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her on an exercise bike, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.