Amazon Care Explained: Virtual, On-Demand Health Care

In this article...
  • Amazon Care continues to expand nationwide, and it could be coming to your area. Understand what services are offered and how you can take advantage of them.

It started as a Seattle-based pilot program in September 2019 for employees and their families. We’re talking about the virtual health service benefit known as Amazon Care.

Now, Amazon is expanding its virtual services nationwide for its employees and other companies, including Hilton, which employs 141,000 people globally. Here’s what you need to know:

What Is Amazon Care, and How Does It Work?

Amazon Care is a healthcare service provider that gives patients two options. The first option is for on-demand virtual care. Patients can connect with medical professionals via chat, in-app messaging, or video in a matter of seconds. Patients also have the option of in-person care where a medical professionals come to the home (e.g., to draw routine blood work, provide immunizations, or listen to the lungs).

One of Amazon Care’s marketing mantras is "healthcare made easy." Here’s how it works.

  • First, patients download the Amazon Care mobile app from Google Play or the App Store. Note that you must have a mobile phone with iOS 13 and above or Android 6 and above. The Amazon Care app is not available on tablets or computers at this time.

  • Next, patients can connect with clinicians for on-demand care, virtual care seven days a week, 365 days a year. Amazon works with dedicated third-party medical groups who provide clinical services through the Amazon Care app from 6am to 8pm PST. Patients simply open the app and click ‘start a visit’ from the home screen, or they can make an appointment for a later, more convenient time.

  • For in-person care, patients can schedule appointments at their own convenience. The Amazon Care mobile app also provides follow-up reminders, after-care summaries, and live updates (e.g., to let patients know that a nurse is on the way for an in-person visit).

Why Is Amazon Care Important?

Amazon Care’s expansion of virtual care and in-person services will continue to drive innovation and new solutions that improve healthcare delivery and the overall patient experience. All of this is good news for patients.

What Services Does Amazon Care Provide?

Patients can access various types of services including preventive care (e.g., annual vaccinations, health screenings, and lifestyle advice), nutritional counseling, pre-pregnancy planning, sexual health, smoking cessation counseling, sleep care, joint care, ongoing care for chronic conditions (e.g., hypertension, coronary artery disease, asthma, diabetes, or mild to moderate depression and anxiety) and more.

How Can Amazon Care Benefit Me?

If you live in an area were Amazon Care is offered, you can take advantage of virtual care visits right from the comfort of your own home, often at the same cost as an office visit co-pay. For example, you might request on-demand care if you think you have the flu, COVID-19, or another illness. You could also use virtual care if you’re not sure whether you need to go urgent care. You could use an in-person visit if you have a minor injury, need testing for a sexually transmitted infection, or need treatment for a cut, scrape, or bug bite. You don’t need to spend time driving to and from the appointment or wait in a crowded waiting area where you can potentially be exposed to other individuals who are sick.

Will Amazon Care Bill My Health Insurance?

No. You pay for visits through the Amazon Care app. However, you can still submit the claim along with your receipt to your insurance company to see whether it will cover all or a portion of the services provided. If your Amazon Care provider sends a prescription to your pharmacy or a sample to a lab for testing, you can also submit claims to your insurance company on your own.

Is Amazon Care Available in Every State?

No. However, Amazon Care does have plans to eventually expand its virtual care to companies and Amazon employees in all 50 states across the United States. Its in-person care will expand to Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and other cities. To find out whether Amazon Care is available in your area, view Amazon Care’s Frequently Asked Questions. Then click on ‘availability’ and enter your zip code.

About the Author

Lisa Eramo is an independent health care writer whose work appears in the Journal of the American Health Information Management Association, Healthcare Financial Management Association, For The Record Magazine, Medical Economics, Medscape and more.

Lisa studied creative writing at Hamilton College and obtained a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University. She is a member of the American Health Information Management Association, American Academy of Professional Coders, Society of Professional Journalists, Association of Health Care Journalists and the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

Lisa currently resides in Cranston, Rhode Island with her wife and two-year-old twin boys.

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