Amazon links One Medical primary care to Prime memberships

Amazon is making membership of One Medical, the boutique primary care clinic it purchased for $3.9 billion, cheaper for its Amazon Prime subscribers, a move that further merges the e-commerce behemoth’s health-care offerings with its core business.

Previously, One Medical memberships — initially available largely via employer benefits — cost $199 annually. Starting Wednesday, Amazon Prime members can buy One Medical memberships for $99 a year, a price that signals the tech giant is eager to take the next step in its march into mainstream health care.

Amazon has gradually been integrating One Medical, giving it top billing on its homepage and offering smaller, temporary sales to Prime members, but tying a permanent health discount to Prime is a big step toward Amazon’s ambitious health goals.

Because One Medical has brick and mortar clinics in only 19 major cities across the United States, thousands of Prime members would only be able to access One Medical’s services virtually. One Medical’s telehealth business has been picking up steadily, a One Medical employee who spoke to The Washington Post on condition of anonymity to protect their job said. Increasing virtual appointments helps maximize productivity of in-person One Medical clinics, the person said, and the company has multiple job openings for virtual clinical roles.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Post, and the newspaper’s interim CEO, Patty Stonesifer, sits on Amazon’s board.

Amazon’s Wednesday blog post announcing the discount for Prime members touted its digital health services.

“The new Prime One Medical membership benefit covers unlimited access to 24/7 on-demand virtual care, including video chats with licensed providers within minutes,” the company said in the blog post. “Virtual care is available nationally, and members don’t incur any additional costs for on-demand virtual care services — it’s all covered by the membership.”

Amazon operates another telehealth offering, called Amazon Clinic. Clinic uses third-party health providers rather than directly employed primary care providers, as One Medical does, and aims to serve patients looking to resolve the most common and easily treatable conditions, like acne, pinkeye and dandruff. According to Amazon’s announcement, One Medical offers a similar service called “Treat Me Now,”but with one crucial difference: Amazon Clinic doesn’t accept health insurance, while One Medical does.

Privacy experts have raised concerns about Amazon Clinic, which requires patients to forgo some health data protection rights to use the service. What One Medical will require of its influx of new digital patients remains to be seen.

Amazon said it takes customer privacy “extremely seriously.”

“We’re committed to protecting our customers’ privacy like we would our own — not only because it’s required by law, but because it’s the right thing to do,” the company said in its blog post. “We are clear with customers about the information we collect and how we collect it. We do not sell customers’ protected health information, and we use this information to provide care, make getting care easier, and to ensure patient safety.”

Amazon is known for its willingness to experiment until it finds a model that fits. The company has tried and walked away from at least two other costly health care gambits, most recently Haven, a corporate health care-focused collaboration with JP Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway, and Amazon Care, a mobile, in-home primary care service that was shut down last year.

The health-care services that have emerged from that trial-and-error process are One Medical, Amazon Clinic, and Amazon Pharmacy, which grew out of the company’s 2018 acquisition of Pillpack.

While these services have so far grown slowly, marrying One Medical and Prime is a sign that Amazon is ready to open the health-care floodgates to its more than 100 million Prime members, some of whom already receive discounts on prescriptions through Amazon Pharmacy’s RxPass.

Dan Amir Rubin resigned as One Medical CEO in August, a little over a year after Amazon bought the company.

Angelica Manac

Angelica Manac is a newly Journalist with a strong sense of responsibility and loved her Job as a Journalist.

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