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Health insurer Aetna to give away Mindbloom Life Game

Insurance firm Aetna plans to give away the premium version of the Mindbloom Life Game to employees and healthcare customers for free.

The gesture is aimed at driving healthy habits through the “gamification of health.” Seattle-based Mindbloom has created a game that helps us remember the important parts of life: having a healthy mind, body, and soul. In the game, you get reminders known as “blooms” that offer inspiration. They could include photos, videos, messages, music, and your own voice.

The giveaway is a big deal for Mindbloom, since Aetna has more than 36 million healthcare members.

Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna is like any other insurance company, promoting wellness so that people live longer and it won’t have to pay out so much money for catastrophic health treatments. It promotes wellness, but many people perceive such promotions as boring. Mindbloom “gamifies” health, or makes it more fun by making it game-like via rewards, achievements, and sharing. You grow a virtual “life tree” and help friends and family maintain their own trees.

The Mindbloom Life Game blends the principles of behavioral science with social gaming to offer a fun way for people to live healthy, productive, and balanced lives. The premium Mindbloom title includes all the benefits of the Life Game plus access to music, an expanded gallery of images, and unlimited personal media storage.

“A significant amount of total health care costs stem from lifestyle choices such as lack of exercise, failing to eat properly, and smoking,” said Dan Brostek, head of member and consumer engagement at Aetna. “Mindbloom cannot only help users manage specific physical conditions but can also help them monitor areas often correlated to health outcomes but considered ‘unmentionables’ in the current health care system, such as stress related to jobs or caregiving, relationship conflicts, unhealthy sex life, or financial issues.”

Aetna users also will have access to Mindbloom’s mobile app, called Bloom*, which has had more than 250,000 downloads since its launch in November on the iTunes App Store. The app helps remind people of what’s important while they’re on the go. It reminds them to make healthy choices, stay connected with others, manage stress, save money, advance their career, and enhance creativity.

Marvina Hirni, 47, stands by it. She suffers from Fibromyalgia and recently turned to Mindbloom to help manage the chronic disease. While in pain, she often finds simple tasks are challenging. With Mindbloom, she can record her daily progress, which she then shares with her doctor.

“Fibromyalgia sometimes prevents me from stepping outside or even making a phone call to a friend. But after using Mindbloom, I’ve learned to appreciate the smallest accomplishments in life, record them, and find strength to deal with my symptoms,” said Hirni. “It sounds simple because it is, but Mindbloom has been an incredibly powerful, yet enjoyable experience when having to manage this disease.”

The web game launched in September and has grown to more than 50,000 registered users who have followed through on more than 1.5 million commitments to improve their quality of life. Users visit the site an average of four times per week, with an average engagement time of 14 minutes per visit.

Chris Hewett co-founded the company in 2008 with a team that spent a decade developing titles such as the nightmarish shooting game F.E.A.R. But he says he found a more important purpose for his craft: “engaging people in the quality of their lives in ways that are highly dynamic, extremely effective, and very fun.”

Mindbloom has raised $1.8 million from Seattle-area angel investors.


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