Amazon Care won’t make it to see 2023. In an e-mail to Amazon Health Services employees that was picked up by a number of news outlets, Amazon announced that they’re shutting down the three-year-old service by December 31. Among its healthcare services, Amazon Care provides primary and urgent care through both in-person and virtual visits. In part, the email reads, “Although our enrolled members have loved many aspects of Amazon Care, it is not a complete enough offering for the large enterprise customers we have been targeting, and wasn’t going to work long-term.”
The move might appear to be a 180-degree turnaround for Amazon, which announced an expansion of Amazon Care earlier this year when they added 20 more cities to the service. The expansion added major metropolitan areas including New York City, Miami, Chicago, and San Francisco. At the time, the move was touted as an effort to bring “even more care options to Amazon Care’s growing customer base.” Now, there’s been widespread speculation that the shuttering of Amazon Care is due to the fact that Amazon struggled to get footholds with these enterprise customers it is targeting.
As news outlets have reported, the email makes it clear that Amazon failed to get a sufficient number of much-needed large corporate customers to sign up for the service. Difficulties in building a nationwide network for in-person care with physicians and other healthcare providers contributed to the problem of Amazon Care’s viability. Another factor might be that Amazon was operating in a sector in which it has limited experience: healthcare, which can be complicated even for professionals with extensive time in the field.
But this doesn’t mean that Amazon is getting out of telehealth; in July, Amazon announced a deal to buy One Medical to the tune of a whopping $3.9 billion. A subscription service that takes a Netflix-like approach to healthcare, One Medical offers users both virtual and in-person appointments — the same as Amazon Care — at around 190 clinics across the United States for an annual fee of $199. However, it’s been widely reported by news outlets that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating the deal that would expand Amazon’s already considerable presence in the digital healthcare market.
In 2018, Amazon picked up the online pharmacy PillPack for a cool $750 million, and it has been recently been reported that Amazon is looking to buy the healthcare platform Signify Health.