Amazon Care Lands First Outside Client
Precor, the Peloton-owned manufacturer of exercise equipment, is offering employees Amazon Care, the app-based tele-health service as “an additional extension of service.”
Amazon Care, the online retail behemoth’s pay-per-use digital healthcare system, has landed its first employer client outside its own corporate empire. Precor, the Peloton-owned manufacturer of exercise equipment, will offer 385 of its 800 employees the service, previously accessible only to Amazon employees.
The Precor employees in question are the ones who work in Washington State, home of Amazon’s global headquarters. There is no indication Precor employees will lose any preexisting healthcare coverage. In a statement to the website Insider, a Precor spokesperson said Amazon Care “is an additional extension of service.”
The service emphasizes a “digital-first” approach, encouraging users to utilize an eponymous app to message and video-chat with doctors and other professionals whenever possible, curtailing wait times and limiting inconvenience.
As a business innovation, Amazon Care charges outside companies by how often its employees log into the app instead of the per-member, per-month rate charged by standard health insurers. The approach may be a boon for large companies whose workforce disproportionately consists of young, healthy workers who have infrequent appointments and fewer healthcare needs. The ease of an app may allow users to detect medical problems before they become more serious — and more costly to the employer.
The concept grew quickly, from a pilot program for Amazon’s Washington State employees in January of 2020 to a company-wide program last March. In the time between, the COVID-19 pandemic did much to normalize the idea of tele-health. Despite its multiple forays into seemingly every sector, Amazon had never provided medical care or had to house confidential patient information before. The infinitely tendrilled company used a variety of complex arrangements with semi-independent medical groups to meet regulations to the point where it offered the services nationwide.
At the same time, Amazon announced it was offering the service to outside companies. It reportedly approached several forward-thinking companies, including real estate giant Zillow, but Precor is the first to sign on.
The company also launched Amazon Pharmacy, a prescription delivery service that is not included in Amazon Care, but part of the company’s newfound interest in healthcare. However, Amazon may take the opportunity to synergize the two in the future, particularly as it competes in a burgeoning field of tele-medicine providers. WalMart recently purchased MeMD, a move seen as a way to challenge Amazon in this field.
Nick Keppler is a freelance journalist, writer and editor. He enjoys writing the difficult stories, the ones that make him pore over studies, talk about subjects that make people uncomfortable, and explain concepts that have taken years to develop. Nick has written extensively about psychology, healthcare, and public policy for national publications and for those locally- based in Pittsburgh. In addition to Athletech News, Nick has written for The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Vice, Slate, Reuters, CityLab, Men’s Health, The Gizmodo Media Group, The Financial Times, Mental Floss, The Village Voice and AlterNet. His journalistic heroes include Jon Ronson, Jon Krakauer and Norah Vincent.