Amazon plans to shut down Amazon Care, the virtual health service it first launched in 2019, by the end of the year. The company announced the decision to Amazon Care employees on Wednesday, The Washington Post reported.
“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,” Amazon senior vice president of health Neil Lindsay in an email to staff shared with Fierce Healthcare. We’ve obtained the full memo and have included it at the end of this story.
Amazon Care started as a service for Amazon employees based in Seattle. It paired virtual health care services with the option for an in-home visit from a nurse. The company expanded the program nationwide just this past February, offering it to companies in all 50 states who wanted to provide the service to their employees. Amazon was still expanding the service as recently as this month, when a webpage showed that it was adding mental health care through a partnership with mental health company Ginger.
The move to shut down an in-house health service comes on the heels of Amazon’s planned acquisition of the subscription-based primary care company One Medical. Amazon is also reportedly interested in buying Signify Health, a company that makes technology for at-home health care.
But this isn’t the first time Amazon has abruptly shuttered a health venture — Haven, a project it launched with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to disrupt the healthcare industry, collapsed in 2021. Its in-house pharmacy business hasn’t been a major driver toward Prime subscriptions, according to a recent Morgan Stanley survey.
Amazon Care operations will end on December 31st.
Here’s the full memo from Neil Lindsay:
Health Services team,
We are working on an important, missionary opportunity. Our vision is to make it easier for people to access the health care products and services they need to get and stay healthy. We know accomplishing this won’t be easy or fast, but we believe it matters.
One of the ways we’ve worked towards this vision for the past several years has been with our urgent and primary care service offering, Amazon Care. During that time, we’ve gathered and listened to extensive feedback from our enterprise customers and their employees, and evolved the service to continuously improve the experience for customers. However, despite these efforts, we’ve determined that Amazon Care isn’t the right long-term solution for our enterprise customers, and have decided that we will no longer offer Amazon Care after December 31, 2022.
This decision wasn’t made lightly and only became clear after many months of careful consideration. 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.
Our work building Amazon Care has deepened our understanding of what’s needed long-term to deliver meaningful health care solutions for enterprise and individual customers. You’ve heard me say it before, but I believe the health care space is ripe for reinvention, and our efforts to help improve the health care experience can have an immensely positive impact on our quality of life and health outcomes. However, none of these reasons make this decision any easier for the teams that have helped to build Amazon Care, or for the customers our Care team serves.
Our priority right now is to support you, regardless of the path you take. Many Care employees will have an opportunity to join other parts of the Health Services organization or other teams at Amazon – which we’ll be discussing with many of you shortly – and we’ll also support employees looking for roles outside of the company.
To the Amazon Care and Care Medical teams, thank you for all of your hard work over these last several years. You should be very proud of what this team has been able to accomplish in a short period of time. I am also thankful to our members and business customers for entrusting us with their care; this is not a responsibility we take lightly. As we take our learnings from Amazon Care, we will continue to invent, learn from our customers and industry partners, and hold ourselves to the highest standards as we further help reimagine the future of health care.
Update August 24th, 7:06PM ET: Added memo from Neil Lindsay.