Does Amazon Health Services Replace Health Insurance?

Last year, I signed up for an Amazon One Medical membership. Since then, it’s collected digital dust. Oops. My hope was that One Medical would basically replace insurance. But that’s not what it does at all. Since realizing my mistake, I’ve dug deeper into what Amazon offers.

Amazon doesn’t replace health insurance. However, it does offer three health services: Amazon Pharmacy, One Medical, and Amazon Clinic.

Amazon Pharmacy delivers prescriptions and works with most insurers. One Medical sets you up with fast primary care appointments and accepts most insurance plans, and Amazon Clinic diagnoses and prescribes some health issues remotely.

Health stuff can get complicated, so I’ve done the research for you. I’ll break down what these services are, plus how they could save you time and money.

Amazon Pharmacy

Amazon Pharmacy is the lovechild of fast shipping and traditional medicine. It makes getting prescriptions fast and easy. Prices are straightforward (and you can see them before you buy), and Amazon subscribers get free delivery. According to Amazon, it accepts most insurance.

Using a flexible spending account (FSA)? You can pay for prescriptions with your pre-tax dollars. Spending more than $5 on prescription meds? You may save money by subscribing to RxPass, which gets you more than 50 meds for a monthly $5 fee. Amazon has the full list.

The pharmacy is excellent for browsing prices and shipping your prescriptions to your door cheaply. But the pharmacy doesn’t offer specialized services, so that’s out. And it may be faster to pick up meds locally.

One Medical

Amazon advertises One Medical as “a modern approach to primary care.” The highlight is you can quickly connect with doctors, make appointments, and access your medical information in one place. It’s convenient, and the service is only $9 monthly for Prime members.

However, the subscription does not cover the cost of doctor visits. You must pay for remote and in-person appointments with insurance or out of pocket. So, members will pay for a One Medical subscription on top of health insurance.

It probably won’t save you money, but it could save you time and improve the quality of your doctor visits. It might be worth checking out if you’re willing to pay for convenience.

Amazon Clinic

Amazon Clinic is a telemedicine platform. The service offers fast video calls with doctors.

How it works:

  1. Navigate to the website
  2. Fill out a form
  3. Pick your health provider and health concerns
  4. Hop on a video call or chat (your choice)
  5. Afterwards, a clinician will send you a treatment plan

Prices are disclosed upfront, so you know what you pay before you schedule anything.

You can’t use health insurance to cover the cost of Amazon Clinic visits. But you can use health insurance to pay for meds your doctor prescribes. You can also pay for expenses using an FSA (flexible spending account) or an HSA (health spending account).

Amazon Clinic is worth checking out if you want to see a doctor ASAP and are okay with paying out of pocket. The virtual clinic’s forte is speed and convenience.

Convenience is the word of the day

We know what Amazon is: a place to get fast shipping on a zillion products by paying consistent subscription fees. It’s fast and convenient. Amazon brings those two features, speed, and ease of use, to its health services.

The tradeoff is that you may be paying up. One Medical is a subscription layered on top of your typical health insurance needs; it doesn’t replace health insurance. Amazon Clinic makes you pay out of pocket for doctor visits.

But time is valuable, and Amazon offers practical ways to save it. Be sure to check prices before signing up for anything — non-Prime members pay extra.

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