Amazon unveiled its latest healthcare play on Wednesday: offering steeply discounted memberships to One Medical, the primary care company it acquired this year for $3.5 billion, to its tens of millions of Amazon Prime U.S. customers. It’s another in a series of experiments by the retail behemoth to carve off a slice of the $4.3 trillion U.S. healthcare market. But it also appears to be competing against some of Amazon’s other health offerings, which could complicate its strategy to become a major healthcare player.
The current list price for a One Medical membership is $199, which gets a person access to unlimited 24/7 virtual visits. The new Prime benefit is around half off with One Medical memberships for $99 a year or $9 a month for the primary user – additional family members are $66 extra each per year or $6 per month. In-person visits to One Medical’s hundreds of clinic locations are charged through insurance or out-of-pocket.
Compare that to Amazon Clinic, a marketplace the company launched a year ago where customers can have text-based or video visits with doctors. A Forbes analysis in August found those one-time visits could range in price from $30 to $95 depending on the condition and whether it was via text or video. This means that an annual One Medical membership could be close to the price of some Amazon Clinic visits, though clinic pricing is dynamic and can change based on availability; at the time of this writing most chat-based visits were around $30 but a video visit for a skin rash was priced at $85.
Neil Lindsay, senior vice president of Amazon Health Services, told Forbes the pricing discrepancy between these offerings reflects the company’s intention to provide a range of care.
“We definitely don’t think about it as competition,” he explained. “We think about it in terms of choice, convenience and then continuity of care.”
Lindsay, who previously oversaw Amazon Prime, said One Medical focuses on a long-term patient relationship with a primary care doctor, while Amazon Clinic is intended for more “one-off” urgent care situations.
He described the One Medical offering as “ideal for busy families.” By contrast, Lindsay said, Amazon Clinic is focused on customers with basic, easy-to-treat conditions, especially for the under 30 demographic that already doesn’t go to a primary care doctor. “Some people may choose the membership, and some people might be happy to do the one-off,” he said.
Compared to One Medical, which employs its own doctors, Amazon Clinic is essentially a partnership between Amazon and a number of digital health startups, including Wheel, SteadyMD, Hello Alpha and Curai Health, who provide the medical care while Amazon connects them with patients. Lindsay said this approach of offering customers choice is consistent with Amazon’s bigger strategy beyond healthcare. “Sixty percent of everything we sell on Amazon is sold by third-parties, so we don't have to do it all ourselves,” he said. “We just often have to connect the dots.” (Amazon declined to disclose the revenue share percentage with the startups.)
Amazon’s past forays into healthcare have been a mixed bag. Amazon runs its own online pharmacy, which grew out of its $750 million acquisition of PillPack in 2018. But Haven, the joint venture between Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to lower employee healthcare costs, shutdown after three years. And Amazon Care – its previous attempt at combining virtual care with in-person clinics – shuttered at the end of last year, five months after the One Medical acquisition was announced.
In 2022, the last year One Medical publicly reported its financials prior to the Amazon acquisition, the company was not yet profitable, reporting a net loss of $398 million on $1 billion in revenue. That same year, One Medical served 796,000 patients through individual and corporate memberships, but around half of its revenue was generated by risk-based contracts with Medicare Advantage insurers to manage the healthcare of 40,000 patients aged 65 and older, according to its annual filing. Lindsay confirmed that Amazon does not currently offer One Medical memberships as a benefit to its own 1.5 million employees. Membership is available only to U.S. Prime members; Amazon has 200 million Prime members globally but would not break out country specifics.
Lindsay declined to comment on any specific financials and the current direction of the business as far as the split between the consumer-side and Medicare-side. “It's still day one. It's very early in our time in healthcare generally,” said Lindsay when asked about One Medical’s profitability, adding there was “so much more opportunity” to make healthcare “more accessible” to Amazon’s customers.
But as Amazon continues its expansion into healthcare, politicians and consumer advocates have raised concerns about one of the world’s largest companies having access to healthcare data. Lindsay said Amazon abides by the federal health privacy regulations known as HIPAA and doesn’t “sell data at all under any circumstances.”
There is some data-sharing between the different Amazon healthcare entities if an Amazon Clinic or One Medical customer wants to use Amazon Pharmacy to fill their prescriptions. And Prime customers can use insurance or pay a $5 monthly fee for certain routine generic medications. “Data is used to fulfill the service that enables you to get the care that you need,” Lindsay said.
And what of the future synergies between the healthcare services and retail shopping? Lindsay wouldn't say. Asked about a scenario in which an over-the-counter medicine from One Medical might magically appear in a Prime member’s shopping cart, he declined to answer. “It doesn't happen right now. And we have nothing to announce as to whether it can or can't happen.”