Amazon offering Prime members low-cost primary health care access


As part of its latest push to offer health care, Amazon announced Wednesday it would offer low-cost health benefits for Prime members.

The new partnership between the tech company and One Medical, the health care business Amazon purchased last year, will offer Prime members “with a care team that’s on call and ready for members.”

A One Medical membership covers unlimited access to all-day, on-demand virtual care, including video chats and in-app treatment for “fast care for common concerns.”

Included in the annual fee are in-person visits at One Medical clinics across the US, but they require additional payments that are paid out-of-pocket or through insurance plans.

The plan is available for Prime members for $9 per month or $99 annually on top of their existing Prime membership. Members can add up to five additional memberships, each for $6 per month. When the companies announced the merger, they initially said memberships would be available for $144, but they lowered the cost to bring in new customers.

“When it is easier for people to get the care they need, they engage more in their health and realize better health outcomes,” Neil Lindsay, senior vice president of Amazon’s Health Services, said in a statement. “That’s why we are bringing One Medical’s exceptional experience to Prime Members — it’s health care that makes it dramatically easier to get and stay healthy.”

The move is the latest push from the e-commerce company to enhance its health care business, after it has had several unsuccessful attempts to enter the market.

Amazon announced it would expand its business operations into in-person medical care in 2021, with plans to establish doctors’ offices in more than 20 cities. The company ultimately announced it would shut down its in-home health service Amazon Care by the end of 2022 after it was unable to connect with larger companies and more customers.

Amazon Clinic delayed its launch over the summer after Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) wrote a letter to Amazon executives expressing concerns that the service is putting users’ private health data at risk. The senators cited an investigation by the Washington Post that showed how Amazon Clinic users must sign away rights to large amounts of their private health data to use the service.

Amazon Clinic has been testing delivering prescription medicine via drone in two cities. Amazon’s telehealth services have been aimed at virtual care to provide treatment to conditions or receive treatment for relatively minor health issues.

Telehealth’s popularity exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic and has continued to be a favored method of receiving care since the pandemic.

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