Amazon has launched a new virtual health service that gives you a way to consult healthcare professionals for common conditions and get prescriptions for them without heaving to make a video call. This new product is called Amazon Clinic, and it offers a text-based solution that connects you with third-party virtual care options. You can choose among Amazon's partner telehealth providers, but the purpose of your consultation has to be in the service's list of accepted conditions, which include acne, hair loss, acid reflux, pink eye, sinusitis and UTI. You can also use the service to get prescription renewals for conditions like asthma, high blood pressure and migraine.
This is but the latest product Amazon has introduced in its bid to delve deeper into the healthcare sector. The e-commerce giant launched Amazon Pharmacy to deliver discounted prescription medicine to Prime members in 2020, and it entered a deal to purchase primary healthcare company One Medical for $3.9 billion in July. Amazon used to offer an app-based telehealth service called Amazon Care to its employees and other companies across the US, but it was shut down by the end of September. According to a previous Washington Post report, company senior vice president of health Neil Lindsay told employees that while "enrolled members have loved many aspects of Amazon Care, it is not a complete enough offering for the large enterprise customers [the company has] been targeting, and wasn’t going to work long-term."
Unlike Care, Clinic wasn't designed to be an enterprise offering. At the beginning of your consultation on the service, you'll have to select your condition and choose your preferred provider from the list of partners before answering a short questionnaire. You'll then be connected to a secure messaging portal where you can chat with a healthcare professional, who'll send you a personalized treatment plan. They can also send your preferred pharmacy — one of the options, of course, is Amazon Pharmacy — any necessary prescriptions. You'll remain connected to your healthcare professional for up to two weeks after your initial chat, and you can send them follow-up messages within that time.
While the service doesn't accept insurance right now, you can pay with an FSA or HSA debit card or get your receipt reimbursed when possible. You do have to pay a flat fee upfront, which is dependent upon your condition. Amazon says that the cost of care is equivalent or less than the average copay in many cases. As for medication, coverage varies, but you can use insurance to pay for it. Amazon Clinic is only available in 32 states at the moment, though the company is hoping to expand its reach to additional states over the coming months.