If you ever wished your doctor could just fix you with a text, Amazon.com may have something for you. Amazon Clinic is a message-based virtual health care service that can be used to treat anything from allergies to erectile dysfunction.
Using a secure portal, Amazon Clinic will give patients in 32 states virtual access to clinicians who can personalize treatments and write prescriptions, mostly for more than 20 common conditions, including urinary tract infections, migraines, hair loss and headaches. Amazon Clinic uses U.S.-based doctors and nurse practitioners to communicate with patients and write prescriptions. There’s no video or audio interaction, though patients may have to send photos of a condition that needs treatment, in certain cases.
While you do not need an Amazon Prime membership to use Amazon Clinic, being a member gets you free two-day shipping from Amazon Pharmacy. Here’s how Amazon Clinic works:
- You choose a clinic online.
- You fill out an intake questionnaire.
- Your information will be reviewed by a clinician (doctor or nurse practitioner).
- You will be messaged with a treatment plan. That may include prescriptions or behavioral recommendations.
- You have messaging access to your clinician for up to 14 days if there are follow up questions. That’s at no additional cost.
Oh, did we mention cost? That varies by clinic and treatment, and doesn’t include the cost of medication. Patients can compare costs online by visiting the treatment page. Prescriptions can be filed by any pharmacy you choose.
Currently, Amazon Clinic isn’t accepting health insurance. Patients instead pay a flat fee for their services, and health savings account and flexible spending account debit cards are accepted. But patients can also submit receipts from Amazon Clinic to their health insurance provider for reimbursement.
We checked prices for one of the conditions Amazon Clinic addresses. After we put in the state where we live, two clinics popped up that would help with that issue. They each cost $35 and the response time was promised at two hours or less. And as Amazon points out in its primer for Amazon Clinic, that cost was less than many co-pays if the patient had to use their doctor. And no waiting room.
The introduction of Amazon Clinic is not the first step into healthcare for Amazon, having attempted to offer virtual and physical healthcare services to its own employees (and some other companies) through a program called Amazon Care. But that offering is being shut down at the end of 2022. Amazon is also in the process of buying One Medical, a virtual primary care provider, for $3.9 billion, in a deal that could substantially expand its offerings. Through Amazon.com, Amazon also has a pharmacy service with its Amazon Pharmacy.
Bob was Senior Editor at Kiplinger.com for seven years and is now a contributor to the website. He has more than 40 years of experience in online, print and visual journalism. Bob has worked as an award-winning writer and editor in the Washington, D.C., market as well as at news organizations in New York, Michigan and California. Bob joined Kiplinger in 2016, bringing a wealth of expertise covering retail, entertainment, and money-saving trends and topics. He was one of the first journalists at a daily news organization to aggressively cover retail as a specialty and has been lauded in the retail industry for his expertise. Bob has also been an adjunct and associate professor of print, online and visual journalism at Syracuse University and Ithaca College. He has a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a bachelor’s degree in communications and theater from Hope College.
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