By Andrew Boyd Wearing a fitness tracking device could earn you cash from your health insurance company. At first, this sounds lucrative for the people who participate, and good for the companies, who want healthier insurance customers. But it’s not quite so simple. Under the program, people who have certain health insurance coverage plans with United Healthcare can elect to wear a Fitbit activity tracker and share their data with the insurance company. The data would be analyzed by Qualcomm Life, a company that processes medical data from wireless sensors for doctors, hospitals and insurance companies. Depending on how active participants are, as measured by the Fitbit, they could earn as much as US$1,500 toward health care services each year. Interest in wearable fitness trackers is booming. More than half of people who already own one believe their devices will help them increase their life expectancy by 10 years – even though it’s impossible to actually know that because the clinical trials necessary would take at least a decade. Adding free money to the mix only makes the devices seem more attractive. Before we celebrate this new partnership, though, it’s important to consider potential costs to the patients. We are not far from days when wearable health devices will be able to diagnose illnesses. Corporate partnerships like this one with United Healthcare and Fitbit could pave the way for insurance companies to use fitness tracker data to deny coverage or hike up rates for consumers.