UnitedHealth makes cope with Peloton to satisfy at-home health developments throughout pandemic

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Starting in September, people with UnitedHealthcare insurance will be able to access Peloton’s multidisciplinary classes for one year as part of their benefits.

The move is in part because of a shift from fitness clubs to at-home exercise, the company said.

The insurer’s parent company, Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group, announced the partnership with Peloton Interactive this week, as well as initiatives to improve accessibility to health care, to get more people insured and to encourage preventive care.

About 4 million members of UnitedHealthcare will have access to the Peloton App and a 12-month subscription to the Peloton digital membership, which will give them access to a range of live and on-demand fitness classes. Members instead can opt for a four-month membership to Peloton’s premium all-access membership.

“Expanding access to Peloton’s industry-leading health and wellness community builds upon our commitment to developing digital health resources and consumer-centric benefits to help people live healthier lives.” said Philip Kaufman, chief operating officer of UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual insurance, in a news release.

UnitedHealth Group on Tuesday, the same day it announced the Peloton deal, released a “sustainability” report, which outlined goals including increasing digital and virtual platforms to improve care.

New York-based Peloton is best known for its connected fitness bikes, and the classes that connect to them. The company also has exercise and fitness classes that don’t require expensive equipment.

This is the first partnership Peloton has made with a health care company, it said. However, the fitness company said it has launched Peloton Corporate Wellness and will try to make deals with other health care organizations.

“Peloton members have always shared how much movement and activity positively impacts their mental, physical and emotional health,” said Peloton President William Lynch in the release.

At this point, UnitedHealthcare members will not be re-enrolled in the Peloton plan after the first year. They would have to pay market rates to continue.

Peloton, which is a publicly traded company, saw its shares increase 6.7% on the day the deal was announced.

UnitedHealth Group in its report released Tuesday also said it would step up efforts to help patients manage chronic diseases.

The company also said it would take other steps to improve accessibility. For example, it said in the plan released Tuesday that the United Health Foundation has given $3 million to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, for its medical school to help create three community clinics and support students planning to become primary-care physicians. The number of active primary-care doctors per capita falls below the national average in Nevada, UnitedHealth Group said.

On Thursday, UnitedHealthcare announced $11.4 million in new grants through its Empowering Health program that funds initiatives to increase the social determinants of health in underserved populations.

The latest round of grants went to programs in 18 states, including Nevada, and the District of Columbia and ranged in size from $10,000 to $300,000. The grants went to programs that help individuals and families deal with food insecurity, social isolation and behavioral health issues. Funding also went to programs supporting local health promotion and health literacy efforts.

UnitedHealth Group, Minnesota’s largest public company, last year earned $15.4 billion on annual revenue of $255.6 billion.The company operates UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest health insurer.

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