Your Watch That Monitors Health Signals Might be Covered By Insurance
Your Watch That Monitors Health Signals Might be Covered By Insurance
31 January 2024

How Are Smart Rings and Watches Good for Your Health?

Fitbits, Apple Watches, Galaxy Watches, Amazfits, and more. These are all examples of popular smartwatches that do more than just tell time. With the prevalence of smartphones, smartwatches have risen significantly in popularity over the past decade or so. You may have even received one as a gift at some point!

But maybe you haven’t taken the time to set up your smartwatch. Or, you’ve heard of smartwatches but not smart rings. So what is the point of a smartwatch? What are the benefits of a smartwatch? Are smartwatches healthy? 

This article will cover everything you need to know about smartwatches so that you can understand the benefits of owning one. If you need help setting up or connecting your smartwatch to your phone, try using OneLaunch’s how-to app, which will connect you with tutorials.

What Is a Smartwatch?

A Smartwatch is an electronic watch that connects with your mobile phone to provide additional functionalities right on your wrist rather than on your phone. Yes, smartwatches tell the time, but they give you a lot of other information such as:

  • The date
  • The weather
  • Text messages you may have received
  • Your temperature
  • Your heart rate
  • How many steps you’ve taken 
  • Hydration tracking (how often you should drink water)

Smartwatches are even starting to connect with digital wallets so that you can pay for items by simply tapping it against a credit card reader! While this is only the tip of the iceberg, you’ve probably started to notice that many smartwatch benefits are about healthier living. 

It’s a fact that as we age, it becomes increasingly beneficial to regularly monitor our health in case of emergencies. While we can do this ourselves, it’s more convenient (and safer!) for something to automatically track our vitals. 

While a smartwatch won’t replace certain doctor-approved health monitoring devices, they will notify you if your heart is beating irregularly, if you need to take a drink of water, or if you need to move around a bit more. 

You can think of a smartwatch as a companion that will hold you accountable for your health. While a little annoying, it’s ultimately trying to help you live a healthier life. Keep in mind that smartwatches won’t always function on their own. Most models require you to connect your smartwatch to a smartphone to be functional. Additionally, some smartwatches will have additional costs, such as a recurring membership fee. 

What Is a Smart Ring?

As an alternative to a smartwatch, consider a smart ring. Smart rings don’t have as many functionalities as smartwatches, but they are solely health-oriented. If you have trouble reading the small screen of a smartwatch, or prefer monitoring your information on your smartphone, a smart ring may be the better option for you. 

A smart ring is a wearable, non-intrusive electronic ring that you wear on your finger that transmits health information directly to your smartphone. Examples of information that a smart ring will give you include: 

  • Heart rate data
  • Skin temperature
  • Metabolic calorie burn rate
  • Sleep tracking and data (see how well you’re sleeping!)

Smart rings are generally very lightweight, constructed of metal, and have minimalist solid color designs. They connect to phones via Bluetooth and have to be regularly charged to function. Additionally, some smart rings are actually waterproof or water-resistant. 

Be cautious when buying a smart ring, as some rings require a monthly subscription to use and have limited sizing and style options. Although smart rings are generally meant for healthier living, they may not always be health-focused. For example, some smart rings are explicitly meant to be used as a payment method as they connect with your digital wallet. 

What Are the Best Smartwatches and Rings?

For Apple and iPhone users, the Apple Watch is an obvious pick for a smartwatch as it will seamlessly connect with your iPhone. The Apple Watch has a bright, adjustable display and connects with Siri so you can use voice commands while on the go. Apple smartwatches also come in a variety of colors depending on your preferred styling. 

The Apple Watch has a battery life of around 18 hours and is the best option for anyone that’s familiar with and owns Apple products. Apple watches range in pricing from around $190 to the more expensive Apple Watch Ultra products that are around $800. 

On the flip side, we have the Samsung Galaxy Watch, which is intended mostly for owners of Samsung Galaxy or other Android smartphones that use Google’s apps like messages, maps, and the Play Store. The Samsung Galaxy Watch has a number of health monitoring features as well as excellent sleep-tracking capabilities. 

The Samsung Galaxy Watch has a one-day battery life and is the best Apple Watch alternative for Android users. The Samsung Galaxy Watch is priced at around $160-$200, with more expensive Pro models available at around $330. 

As a budget alternative, consider the Amazfit smartwatch that connects with any smartphone that has a Bluetooth connection. This smartwatch features information about your heart rate and sleep quality, as well as basic Bluetooth calling and messaging. 

With lower capabilities comes better battery life – this smartwatch can last around 10 days under regular use. A new Amazfit Bip model is around $80. A simpler Amazfit Band will only be $50. 

Fitbit was once the standard “name” for smartwatches, being one of the only options on the market. Today, it’s known as a watch focused on improving your health and athletics. It’s comfortable, lightweight, and connects with your phone for specific exercise and workout capabilities. The Fitbit functions through the Fitbit app, which is available in the Apple app store and Play Store. Fitbit will not work without this app and does not connect through any other third-party apps. 

The Fitbit has a battery life of around a week. Newer models are priced at about $130. 

Good Housekeeping, ZDNet, and Men’s Health all name The Oura Ring Gen3 as one of the best smart rings. Prices start around $299 at BestBuy, and they’re eligible for HSA/HRA/FSA. What does that mean? We cover that in the next section.  

Does Your Insurance Offer Smartwatch Discounts?

Because of the many health benefits of owning a smartwatch, it’s become possible to receive a smartwatch at a heavily discounted rate, or even for free, through your insurance. These such programs will allow insurance companies to track your health through a complimentary or discounted device. 

While this program sounds great, it’s also worth keeping in mind the data that your insurance company will take and store about you. Your personal data may be used to adjust your premiums based on the health stats that your insurance company finds. 

Insurance companies may also require you to run your smartwatch through an app that is required to be installed on your phone. United Healthcare, Cigna, and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield are all examples of insurance companies that have a smartwatch program.

Your health savings account (HSA), health reimbursement accounts and flexible spending accounts allow you to contribute pre-tax from your paycheck into a special bank account to use for medical and healthcare-related purchases. And, some insurers allow their members to purchase smartwatches and smart rings because they recognize the benefits.

Check with your insurance administrator to see if your insurance covers these technology.