What is Amazon Clinic? Here’s what you need to know
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Amazon has recently gotten into health care in a big way with services like One Medical and Amazon Clinic. With the Amazon Clinic virtual health service, you can get affordable and quick care for common conditions, including prescription refills, from the comfort of your home. You don’t need to be an Amazon Prime member to subscribe, but if you are, you’ll get free two-day shipping on prescriptions ordered through Amazon Pharmacy.
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Amazon Clinic is a cost-effective and timely way to receive treatment for common conditions. It alleviates the unwanted stress of having to book an appointment or head to a walk-in clinic and wait for hours to get a consult for a simple treatment like a migraine, that could be easily treated virtually by a licensed health care professional.
What is Amazon Clinic?
Amazon Clinic is a secure, message-based virtual care service that can be used for more than 20 common health conditions, such as allergy flare-ups, acne and athlete’s foot. While One Medical is a subscription-based service that gives you 24/7 access to health care professionals via video, text and in-person consultations for common and chronic medical conditions, Amazon Clinic is like the virtual counterpart of a walk-in clinic. If you need a quick “visit” with a clinician for a health concern that is easily addressed virtually, you can turn to Amazon Clinic. You can reach out at any time, with responses from most clinics delivered within a few hours. The idea behind Amazon Clinic is to help empower people to take better control of their health with a service that fits better into their busy schedule. You can choose from a network of trusted telehealth care providers in the health care store, all of whom have rigorous clinical quality and customer experience evaluations, and check in about something when it suits you, no matter where you are.
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How much does Amazon Clinic cost?
Amazon Clinic charges a fee based on each case, and every online clinic, including partners like HealthTap and SteadyMD, sets its own prices. Thus, pricing varies depending on the treatment. When you select a condition, you can compare prices before choosing how and with which clinic to proceed. You can also compare the listed response times and services offered. Each condition page will include a comparison chart (if there’s more than one provider) so you can make the best decision.
Most consults cost within the $30 range. Treatment of sinus infection/sinusitis from clinics in Oregon, for example, is $30 with an estimated response time of anywhere from two to three hours. For treatment of a potential urinary tract infection (UTI) in Connecticut, the cost is $34 to $35, depending on the clinic, with the same estimated wait time. To get a prescription renewal for high blood pressure medication in Florida, it will cost $30. Amazon notes that in most cases, whatever the cost of treatment, it will be equivalent to or less than the average co-pay.
After a frustrating experience trying to transfer a prescription from a pharmacy in one state to a new one to which he moved, our columnist tried Amazon Clinic and was blown away. She managed to get the prescription (a refill on an asthma inhaler) that had caused almost a year’s worth of aggravation filled in less than an hour. Our reviewer’s total cost for the visit and prescription was $50. “The convenience, alongside the time, hassle, and frustration saved,” he noted, “was worth the price of admission a million times over.”
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Note: If prescriptions aren’t covered under your current health plan, you must pay for them separately. You cannot use your health insurance to cover the cost of the virtual visit/consult at this time: you must pay the applicable flat fee. You can, however, pay with an FSA or HAS debit card. If you have insurance coverage, you can submit the receipt to your insurer to see if it is eligible for reimbursement based on their policies and your plan. Amazon Clinic is not available to those who receive coverage from federal or state healthcare payors. If you fall into this category, you are advised to visit a covered provider that is contracted and approved by your health plan provider.
Do I need an Amazon Prime account to sign up for Amazon Clinic?
While you don’t need an Amazon Prime membership to use Amazon Clinic, being a member gets you free two-day shipping from Amazon Pharmacy. If you don’t have an Amazon account, you do need to create a free account to use Amazon Clinic. An Amazon Prime subscription is typically $14.99 a month, but some individuals qualify for a discount for Amazon Prime membership as well, including long-term students and qualifying government assistance recipients.
With Amazon Prime Day 2023 on the near horizon, a Prime membership will come in handy far beyond prescription delivery. You’ll be able to find deeply discounted products, including not only medical-related products but groceries, household goods, office supplies, electronics, gifts and more.
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How do I join Amazon Clinic?
Amazon Clinic isn’t a subscription-based service; rather, you pay on a per-case basis. To receive a consultation, all you need to do is visit the Amazon Clinic homepage. Once you log in using an existing Amazon or Amazon Prime account, you are given a four-digit PIN code to enter. You’re then taken to the landing page with the various conditions from which to choose. Scroll through the eligibility requirements, which are divided into categories for general health, sexual health, skin and hair and prescription renewals.
Amazon Clinic offers treatment for many common concerns like pink eye, acid reflux, sinus infections, seasonal allergies, cold sores, birth control or eczema. Depending on the condition, you may be asked to upload photos. You can also get help for things like quitting smoking or requesting a medication refill, like migraine meds or, in the case of our contributor, an asthma inhaler.
Once you select the award and you’re ready to proceed, you’ll need to sign a consent form authorizing the sharing of health information on your behalf, a requirement under federal law regarding restrictions on the release of personal medical information. You’ll be asked about current health symptoms and a few basic health history questions. After a doctor or nurse practitioner reviews the information, they may contact you with additional questions. Finally, you’ll receive a treatment outline, which can include behavioral recommendations, over-the-counter medicines or prescriptions for medication. Once you have initiated a consultation and received a reply, you can reach out to the clinician for the next 14 days with follow-up questions at no additional cost.
Note that Amazon Clinic is available in 33 states for those ages 18 to 64, and is only available for certain conditions.
Do I need an appointment to use Amazon Clinic?
Amazon Clinic does not require an appointment. You can follow the above procedure any time of day or night. You’ll be notified after an inquiry through a follow-up message that advises to check the Amazon Clinic portal for a response, usually at some point within the next few hours.
In the case of our columnist, she received a response about the refill of her asthma inhaler within 20 minutes. It was accompanied by a detailed report from a nurse outlining her treatment plan with instructions and a text box where she could submit follow-up questions.
How can I get my prescriptions filled?
You can use applicable health insurance to pay for prescriptions written through Amazon Clinic and get them filled at your local pharmacy or Amazon Pharmacy. An advantage for Amazon Prime members is that you get free two-day delivery of said prescription, which will be useful for those with limited transportation options or who can’t make it to a pharmacy for other reasons.
Plus, if you sign up for Amazon’s RxPass as an Amazon Prime member, you can get generic medicines for a flat rate of $5 a month. For those with chronic conditions that require consistently refilled prescriptions, or families with young children or elderly members, it might be worth considering.
What payment methods does Amazon Clinic accept?
Amazon Clinic will be connected to your Amazon Pharmacy account, where you can load payment methods for transactions. This includes all major credit and debit cards, such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. All of these payment methods are accepted by the clinics that work with Amazon Clinic. Additionally, as noted, you can also pay via Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and Health Savings Account (HAS) cards if you have one of these. You will only be charged once a clinician has reviewed the information you have provided and delivered a treatment plan to you, which includes instructions on what to do, advice to see a doctor in person, or the delivery of a prescription.
Payment receipts can be submitted to health insurance providers for potential reimbursement, but that will depend on the provider and your specific health plan. If you plan to file for reimbursement, check with your provider first to see if this is an option.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.