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Photo: Paul Sakuma Photography

Aetna plans to give away Apple Watches to more than 500,000 of its members next year and is working with the tech giant to develop a variety of health and fitness apps.

Why it matters: While smartphones are considered a must-have device for most Americans, smartwatches are still seen as luxuries. If Aetna can prove the devices save money on health costs it could dramatically expand demand for such devices and open up the possibility of someone other than consumers footing the bill.

CEO Mark Bertolini says Aetna presented Apple with a list of the top drivers of health costs and the two companies have been working together on apps that can it can use to provide incentives to make healthier choices. Aetna workers are co-located at Apple's offices in Cupertino, he said, as the company looks to have a variety of apps ready in time for the Jan. 1 start of the Apple Watch pilot program.

"If we can make it work it will be well worth it for us to give everybody an Apple Watch but we've got to get the technology right," Bertolini said Tuesday while speaking at the Techonomy conference in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

CNBC reported in August that Apple and Aetna were having talks on how to expand a program that gave free watches to Aetna's employees.

Separately: Bertolini said he wants health care to look more like the Apple Store.

Go deeper

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.

Muslim families hope to reunite following Biden's travel ban repeal

Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Muslim Americans across the U.S. are celebrating President Biden's day-1 reversal of former President Trump's travel ban that targeted several Muslim-majority countries.

The big picture: The repeal of what many critics called the "Muslim ban" renews hope for thousands of families separated by Trump's order.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  4. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  5. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries.
  6. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.