As many as 20,000 Oscar customers will be offered the chance to download a Misfit app onto their smartphones that will monitor the device. After the Oscar-branded wristband is shipped and activated by the customer, it then automatically syncs to the app and the customer's insurance plan account.
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The benchmarks determined by an algorithm "start around 2,000 steps per day, that would be the early goal," Schlosser said. "If it sees you hit your goal every day for a week or so, then it would increase your goal.... Of course, it comes down again if you start missing your goal."
The maximum goal is "a bit over 10,000" steps per day, he said. "You don't have to be a triathlete to achieve this."
Customers are awarded $1 per day — with a $20 monthly cap — if they beat the benchmarks. The award is loaded on an Amazon.com gift card.
With Oscar's cheapest "silver" Obamacare plans costing about $405 per month in premiums, the Misfit program offers customers the incentive of a discount equal to more than 5 percent per month.
"We think it can be a very powerful tool to getting people out on the street and being more active," Schlosser said.
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It also may be a tool to help Oscar make some money.
Part of the bet Oscar is making by handing out the Misfit devices, which has a $60 retail value, is to reduce the rate of health issues such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes among Oscar's customers. That, in turn, could reduce their use of doctors and hospitals, which Oscar's plan pays for.
Asked what the return on that investment might be per customer, Schlosser said, "I don't think anybody can completely answer that question right now.
"It will pay off, at best, in the medium term, if not the short term," he said.