A select few of the 45 million people covered by United are getting about $140 a year in Peloton digital fitness content on the insurer’s dime.
Starting Sept. 1, nearly four million people who get coverage through UnitedHealthcare will have access to Peloton app content — $2,500 stationary bike not included.
The eligible UnitedHealthcare members will get a subscription to the Peloton App (a $12.99-a-month value) for 12 months on United’s dime. The service includes a slew of streaming fitness classes for which the company’s trademark smart bikes are not necessary, among them strength training, yoga, running and meditation.
What if you are one of these lucky members and you are already a Peloton devotee who spends $39 a month on the more expansive program, Peloton All-Access, which provides the streaming content for the bikes? UnitedHealthcare will pay for four months of that.
Philip Kaufman, chief operating officer of a company division called UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual, noted in a statement that more people are utilizing “on-demand exercise options.”
“[T]his first-of-its-kind relationship with Peloton will provide millions of our members with an important resource to help them along their paths toward a healthier lifestyle,” he added.
More than 45 million people get their health insurance through UnitedHealthcare (typically through their employer), so the granting to Peloton access to less than ten percent of them seems like a trial run in the efforts of healthcare providers and employers to offer some fitness-enhancing program that will provide a return in cutting down on their healthcare expenses in the long term.
Last month, Peloton announced its own corporate wellness program, providing the company with some well-received news a month after its treadmill recall debacle. The UnitedHealthcare partnership does not seem to be a part of that program, Peloton Corporate Wellness (which is designed to be provided directly by the employee), but a congruent effort to make Peloton content a snazzy part of some people’s benefit package.
Nick Keppler is a freelance journalist, writer and editor. He enjoys writing the difficult stories, the ones that make him pore over studies, talk about subjects that make people uncomfortable, and explain concepts that have taken years to develop. Nick has written extensively about psychology, healthcare, and public policy for national publications and for those locally- based in Pittsburgh. In addition to Athletech News, Nick has written for The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Vice, Slate, Reuters, CityLab, Men’s Health, The Gizmodo Media Group, The Financial Times, Mental Floss, The Village Voice and AlterNet. His journalistic heroes include Jon Ronson, Jon Krakauer and Norah Vincent.