An aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest, Amazon River and surrounding mountains
… Amazon Rainforest: Home to 1,500+ bird species, 40,000+ plant species, 2.5 million insect species …


John G. Baresky

…Amazon is launching an employee health clinic encompassing in-patient visits, telemedicine, in-home nurse follow-ups and other care services for Seattle headquarters staff…

Amazon Care is the incubator for a new employee healthcare model

Employer Healthcare Costs are a concern for Amazon and other organizations

Amazon Care’s program attributes

In-person clinic appointments are available and Amazon Care can arrange for a nurse to follow up with a home visit if required.

Amazon Care features a preferred retail pharmacy network

Oasis Medical Group is contracted with Amazon

Haven Healthcare is a partnership Amazon is a member of

It encompasses primary care access plus medical and prescription benefits. Haven Healthcare is a non-profit entity based in Boston, Massachusetts with offices in New York City.

…Amazon Care is an ideal incubator for Amazon and its partners in Haven Healthcare to strategically immerse themselves to gain experience plus collect clinical, financial, technical and risk data from the concept…

The Amazon Care program needs to prove itself based on economics, performance and convenience

  • Does Amazon Care improve employee productivity?
  • How does it provide better care, in quantifiable terms, for employees and their dependents?
  • Is it able to be cost-effectively managed over the long term?
  • Could it be successfully introduced to other Amazon facilities?
  • How does it lower costs for Amazon?
  • Based on recent technology and competitive challenges at PillPack, what may Amazon Care be confronted with down the road?

What happened at Whole Foods, an Amazon business unit, and medical benefits for part-time staff?

Amazon communicated it has provided these employees with resources to find other healthcare coverage options as well as encouraged them to explore full-time, healthcare-eligible positions starting at 30 hours per week with Whole Foods.

Based in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods has about 500 stores and was acquired by Amazon in 2017 for approximately $13.7 billion. Competing grocery stores have aggressively supplemented standard offerings with food free of hydrogenated fats, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives which Whole Foods built its unique business on.

This has put pressure on Whole Foods to compete. Other grocers can expand lines with more health-oriented products; conversely, it would go against Whole Foods’ business model if it were to feature conventional grocery store products. This makes for an uphill challenge in category management, operations and profitability for them.

…There are big and small players in the grocery sector plus the universal competitor and foe of all grocers which is spoilage…

The U.S. grocery market is a battlefield of rivals going after the baked, dairy, fresh, frozen, prepared, produce, meat and other foodstuff dollars of American shoppers. An interesting footnote is Germany-based Lidl, a grocery store operator who opened its first U.S. store in 2017 promises to offer their 1,200 part-time workers medical benefits effective January 2020.

Lidl has over 70 stores in 9 states (globally, they have almost 11,000 stores located in 32 countries). Aggressive competition, thin margins, logistics expenses, facility overhead and other factors (i.e. spoilage) make the grocery market a tough sector to compete in even for Whole Foods with Amazon as its owner.

New and old employer health ventures encompass Apple, Cisco, Discover, Goldman Sachs, Kaiser, Mars, USAA

While developing and launching pilot programs or turn-key initiatives requires time, financial and technical resources there are several benefits for employers to explore such ventures:

  • It serves as an additional benefit for use as a retention tool
  • Provides a more direct way to manage employee and dependent healthcare costs and care
  • Generates benchmark data for discussions with employee benefit consultants, managed care organizations, health insurers who may be vendors or partners

The approach of an “employer as healthcare provider” for its workers is not necessarily new. One leading example of this is Kaiser Permanente. Located in Oakland, California, Kaiser Permanente evolved from employee healthcare programs for construction, shipyard and steel mill employees for the Kaiser industrial companies during the late 1930s and 1940s.

Founded by industrialist Henry J. Kaiser and physician Sidney Garfield, its access, cost and quality benchmarks were so well achieved the program became fully commercialized and opened to public enrollment in July 1945.

…Kaiser Permanente now covers about 12 million people in Washington, D.C. and 8 states…

Moving forward, Amazon Care is an investment for employees and corporate organizations

…That’s a big ask but so is developing a company valued at approximately $1 billion through launching an online bookstore…

Regardless of how they pursue other employee healthcare measures, Amazon Care will provide them value based on data and provider contracting experience alone. It is almost certain Amazon Care is not an isolated element in Amazon’s healthcare initiatives.

They are likely nurturing its success and earmarking its best attributes for other potential uses and insights which may or may not be tied to its Haven Healthcare nonprofit joint-venture. Amazon employees and investors can be hopeful for its positive potential and competitors watchful of its threats.

Thank you for reading this story

Read my other articles about medical and healthcare business trends, content marketing and digital strategy, brand and product management, consumer wellness, managed care and market access strategy. Contact me today for your healthcare content writing and content strategy needs.

I have over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry producing valuable healthcare content for audiences and customers spanning physicians, nurses, pharmacists plus pharmaceutical companies, medical technology manufacturers, healthcare provider organizations, managed care, investors, consumers and other stakeholders.

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As a healthcare content writer, my work aligns with an organization’s voice, brand, SEO elements, marketplace and objectives. It establishes trust in their company and recognized value in its products and services that generates revenue.

This experience was earned through working at Walgreens, Pfizer, AbelsonTaylor, TAP (Takeda Abbott Partnership), Hospira Worldwide and Boston Software Systems. ​

To a large degree, my professional interests emulate my family which includes doctors, nurses, physician assistants and other clinicians plus those that are working in healthcare administration and commercial enterprises.

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