Some problems have defied solving for so long that people have simply given up.
In many ways, that applies to some of the biggest issues facing the U.S. It’s not that people aren’t trying to solve issues like homelessness and hunger; it’s just that the sheer size of these problems has more or less taken them off the table as part of the national discussion.
Health care has become one of these issues. Many Americans lack access to proper health care and both politicians and private businesses have tried to tackle the problem.
A massive effort to disrupt health care was made with Haven, a joint partnership of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) – Get Free Report, (BRK.B) – Get Free Report and JPMorgan Chase, (JPM) – Get Free Report. That lasted just three years.
And where private business has mostly failed, government also seems to have given up. CVS Health (CVS) – Get Free Report perhaps has had the most success in this area with its walk-in clinics bringing at least basic services in a somewhat affordable way to places that lacked them.
Now, Amazon (AMZN) – Get Free Report has followed CVS’s lead and has expanded a health-care program it has been testing on a national level. It’s not a massive overhaul of the U.S. health-care system like the one Haven envisioned, but it’s still a pretty big effort to bring care to more people.
CVS Minute Clinics have expanded access to health care.
Image source: Shutterstock
Amazon Clinic Expands Nationwide
Amazon has followed CVS’s lead in that its new health-care offering does not attempt to solve every aspect of the problem. Instead, it expands access to basic health care services in an affordable and easy-to-access way.
With Amazon Clinic, which has now been expanded to the entire U.S., the online leader offers a virtual health-care marketplace that enables customers to quickly get treatment for more than 30 common health concerns like urinary tract infections, pink eye, and erectile dysfunction.
“In addition to message-based consultations in 34 states, Amazon Clinic now supports video visits nationwide. Amazon Clinic offers customers 24/7 access to clinicians directly through Amazon.com and the Amazon mobile app,” the company said in a news release.
How Amazon Clinic Works
Amazon is not hiring doctors or providing care. Instead, it’s acting as a marketplace to connect people with the right providers.
“To get treatment, customers simply visit Amazon Clinic on the Amazon website or Amazon mobile app. There, they can compare response times and prices from multiple telehealth provider groups, complete an intake form, and connect with their chosen provider,” the company said.
Perhaps most important, the service prices are disclosed up front, meaning that there’s no billing surprises of the sort that people — even ones with health insurance — often face when they visit walk-in clinics. That feature alone could draw in more people who otherwise might not seek treatment.
Amazon Clinic does not require customers to have health insurance, although those who do can use it for any prescriptions their doctors write. The company provides some price information up front and explains its overall policy.
“Each third-party telehealth provider sets its own prices, and prices vary for each treatment. To compare prices, visit the condition page for the treatment you’re interested in. On average, Amazon Clinic messaging-based consultations cost $35, and video visits cost $75. Customers can use FSA or HSA dollars to cover the visit cost,” Amazon said on its FAQ site.
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