January 28, 2014

Optical insurer VSP VisionCare has struck a deal with Google to offer prescription lenses and subsidized frames for Google Glass, reports the New York Times. This move will make Glass more affordable for consumers and increase the level of cooperation between health care and consumer electronics companies.

VSP, which insures one-fifth of Americans, has provided Google’s eye care insurance since the company was founded, according to CNET. The two companies have been discussing a Glass-based partnership for over a year.

[ Read: Aetna Increases Focus On Employee Health. ]

Insurance industry experts told Insurance & Technology earlier this year that Google Glass represents the dawning of a new age of wearable devices that have the potential to impact the industry with new personal data. If the Google-VSP agreement succeeds in increasing availability to Glass, it stands to reason that other insurers could make more of a case to figure out ways to use the new data. And, of course, VSP potentially has a leg up in terms of seeing what kind of data Glass gleans and relating it to risk management.

And increasing accessibility seems to be the plan: Jim McGrann, president of VSP, told CNET that he expects insurance will provide a means for consumers to better adjust to Glass, which has not yet reached the general public. Meanwhile, Google anticipates that Glass will become publicly available beyond the Explorer program in late 2014.

Kelly is an associate editor for Insurance & Technology. Prior to joining InformationWeek Financial Services, she was a staff writer for InformationWeek and InformationWeek Education. Kelly has also written for trade ...