Amazon Care teaming up with Ginger to add behavioral health services

Amazon Care, which currently offers virtual health visits, in-person primary care visits at patients' homes or offices and prescription delivery, is adding behavioral health care to its slate of services.

Amazon's health service business plans to team up with teletherapy startup Ginger as an optional add-on to Amazon Care. Through the partnership, Amazon Care users will be connected to Ginger's on-demand mental health services including behavioral health coaches, licensed therapists and psychiatrists, according to a live website about the service.

Amazon touted the partnership as a way for employees to get mental and physical health care in one place. "With the behavioral health add-on, we'll handle coordination between Care teams and Ginger therapists and psychiatrists," the company said on its website.

The two companies will share patients' health information, according to the website.

The website says Amazon Care primary care providers treat common behavioral health concerns, and care coordinators will refer employees to "high-quality, in-network behavioral health specialists for acute-to-moderate concerns whenever possible."

The new service hasn't launched yet, according to people familiar with the matter, Business Insider reported.

The move comes as employers ramp up their focus on expanding access to mental health care for their workers. Three out of four employers (76%) said they are making increased access to these services a key priority in 2022, according to the Business Group on Health's annual look at employers' healthcare attitudes. In addition, 57% of employers said they will be focusing on reducing the stigma around mental health needs.

Last fall, Ginger merged with Headspace, creating a $3 billion mental health company. By combining Ginger's teletherapy services with Headspace's meditation and mindfulness app, the company, now called Headspace Health, has a combined reach to 100 million consumers, according to the company.

Amazon has been rapidly expanding its reach into healthcare. It piloted its healthcare business in 2019 to provide virtual urgent care services to its employees and their families in the Seattle region. 

In March 2021, Amazon Care announced it would begin serving other Washington-based businesses. The company also added in-person care and prescription delivery to its virtual services. The company then opened up the medical business to employers around the country, and it now offers its virtual primary care service to companies and Amazon employees in all 50 states.

Amazon Care also offers in-person care in cities including Seattle, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Austin, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Virginia.

The company is on track to rapidly expand its hybrid care model to more than 20 additional cities in 2022, including major metropolitan areas like San Francisco, Miami, Chicago and New York City.

Amazon recently doubled down on its healthcare strategy with a proposed deal to buy concierge primary care company One Medical for nearly $4 billion.

One Medical markets itself as a membership-based, tech-integrated, consumer-focused primary care platform. The company operates 188 offices in 29 markets. At the end of March, One Medical had 767,000 members.