Amazon's push into healthcare has focused on making medical services more affordable and convenient.
Building on its One Medical deal, Amazon is now offering a One Medical for Prime membership, including 24/7 virtual care, for $9 per month, or $99 a year. That's $100 less than the standard One Medical membership fee, according to the company.
Prime members can add up to five additional memberships, each for just $6 a month, or $66 annually.
Amazon also offers Prime members a prescription drug subscription called RxPass that will ship generic medications to customers' homes for a flat monthly fee of $5.Amazon Pharmacy has largely been focused on price transparency and affordability of branded and generic drugs. The online retail giant also developed a new feature to make it easier for consumers to use manufacturer discounts on branded meds by integrating the coupons into the checkout experience. And the company recently rolled out drone delivery for prescription meds in College Station, Texas.
The One Medical for Prime subscription fee covers unlimited access to 24/7 virtual care nationwide, including video chats with licensed providers and access to an in-app “Treat Me Now” feature that lets users get fast care for common concerns like cold and flu, skin issues, allergies, urinary tract infections. Members don’t incur any additional costs for on-demand virtual care services, according to the company.
An in-office visit to one of One Medical's 220 brick-and-mortar clinics is not included in the subscription fee. If a virtual visit requires a follow-up with a physician in person, Prime members who sign up for the service and live near one of One Medical's clinics can schedule same and next-day remote or in-person appointments at one of its primary care centers.
For those in-person appointments, customers must use their insurance or pay out of pocket. One Medical also accepts health plans from most insurance carriers, the company said.
“This new benefit is the latest example of how we’re making it easier for Prime members to take care of their health. Prime members also have exclusive access to benefits from Amazon Pharmacy, including RxPass, which lets members get as many eligible medications as they need for one flat fee of $5 per month and have them delivered free to their doors in two days or less, and Prime Rx, which helps members save up to 80% on prescriptions when not using insurance at Amazon Pharmacy and over 60,000 pharmacies nationwide," said Jamil Ghani, vice president, Amazon Prime, in an Amazon Health blog post..
"When it is easier for people to get the care they need, they engage more in their health, and realize better health outcomes,” said Neil Lindsay, senior vice president, Amazon Health, in the blog post. “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.”
Amazon’s $3.9 billion acquisition of One Medical made big waves when it was announced in July 2022. The deal expanded Amazon's reach into primary care as it now officially operates 220 clinics in 29 metropolitan areas. The deal also gives Amazon rapid access to the lucrative employer market as One Medical works with more than 8,500 companies and has a trove of member health data.
Launched in 2007, One Medical operates as a membership-based, tech-integrated, consumer-focused primary care platform offering care at brick-and-mortar clinics as well as near-site and work-site care along with virtual health services.
The Amazon Health umbrella now includes One Medical, Amazon Clinic and Amazon Pharmacy.
Arielle Trzcinski, Forrester principal analyst, says Amazon's new One Medical for Prime membership combined with its pharmacy services sets the bar higher for other providers and retailers as healthcare becomes more consumer-oriented.
“This move enables Amazon to bring its healthcare options together to create a more seamless customer experience, which consumers are craving. Whether consumers need virtual care, in person services, or pharmacy, they demand an experience that is affordable, easy, and convenient," Trzcinski said.
Amazon's new service comes as flu and cold season is gearing up and many consumers are going through open enrollment, including seniors evaluating Medicare Advantage plan options. Consumers are hyper aware of their medical costs, she noted, as healthcare costs are expected to see the biggest increase in a decade for employers, and employees are expected to see an overall increase of 3.3% for premium and out-of-pocket costs.
“I expect more pressure on the digital health space, in which funding continues to decline and be harder to get. These smaller players now must contend with a comprehensive option via Amazon that blends a membership-based primary care offering with access to affordable virtual care, as well as in-person support and pharmacy delivery if needed. Very few digital health players cover all these bases and are far from the scale and reach of Amazon’s Prime membership," Trzcinski said.
Healthcare retailers will continue to fight back, she noted. "I expect retailers to compete by lowering prices, experimenting with their own membership-based models, and working to create the best value for their customers — which is good for consumers. At the end of the day, this is a win for consumers," she said.