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Just over a year after Amazon Pharmacy kicked off, it’s Prime Time for an Amazon health-care system.
Here’s what you need to know:
Amazon is buying One Medical’s nationwide network of clinics and telehealth providers.
One Medical has been around since 2007 and has grown from being a San Francisco-based primary care provider to being a nationwide provider of in-person medical care in 19 metro areas, plus substantial telehealth services.
Amazon announced on July 21, 2022, that — pending government regulatory approval — they’re buying the company for about $3.9 billion.
Expect to see physical Amazon health clinics and lots more telehealth options.
While we’ll have to wait and see exactly what Amazon does with One Medical, we can expect that they’ll continue to operate the in-person clinics, while absorbing One Medical’s telehealth offerings into Amazon Care (the telehealth program launched in Fall 2019).
Amazon health also includes Amazon Pharmacy, which launched in mid-2021.
Amazon purchased online pharmacy Pill Pack in 2018 for $750 million and used it to launch Amazon Pharmacy, which accepts most insurance, ships to all 50 states, and even has a low-cost prescription program (only for Prime members).
We’ll tell you everything about Amazon Pharmacy. But expect Amazon’s purchase to take the existing aspects of One Medical and roll it into a larger nationwide health-care initiative.
The One Medical purchase comes more than a year after the first Amazon health venture failed.
Amazon had joined forces with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to create a not-for-profit health-care system for the three companies’ employees.
It never really took off, though, and the venture — called Haven — ended before it really started. Haven shut down in February 2021 amidst lots of unexpected organizational challenges (and NPR even reported that Haven was even facing competition from Amazon itself).
Amazon isn’t the first retailer to buy a health network. CVS did it in 2017.
CVS purchased Aetna in 2017 and has since worked on rolling out health-care clinics inside CVS stores. There are lots of CVS stores closing, in part to make room for special CVS Primary Care Clinics.
Amazon could make One Medical memberships a part of Prime.
One Medical has given their customers lots of features via their app and online interface … things like recording and reporting blood pressure readings via their app, checking lab results, and renewing prescriptions. And customers paid $199 a year to be members.
The annual Amazon Prime membership costs $139 a year, and it’s conceivable to think that Amazon has the financial power to include One Medical in the Prime membership.
That would be a big addition to the many Amazon Prime perks.
Amazon won’t be able to use patient data outside of One Medical.
Lots of One Medical customers have expressed concern about Amazon buying their medical services provider — some have even canceled their memberships — because of privacy concerns.
Although Amazon may use their connection with One Medical to try to sell specific products to patients, they won’t be sending patient data outside of the One Medical system. Government regulations prevent Amazon from using that data in any way other than for One Medical operations.