Sat. Feb 4th, 2023

Amazon is adding behavioral health services to Amazon Care, a medical care service it sells to employer health plans.

Care coordinators will refer patients to in-network behavioral health specialists for acute and moderate behavioral health concerns, according to an Amazon Care webpage that describes the program. 

Amazon Care also is partnering with mental healthcare company Ginger, according to the website. Ginger merged with Headspace, a meditation and mindfulness app provider, last year to create a combined company called Headspace Health. Ginger’s services will be an optional add-on to Amazon Care, according to the website.

Amazon has not publicly discussed the program, and it did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A Headspace Health spokesperson declined to comment.

Employers and insurers have increasingly contracted with teletherapy apps, and the companies developing such products say they can reduce stress and improve employee retention.

Amazon launched Amazon Care as a virtual health clinic for its employees enrolled in an Amazon health insurance plan in 2019, and signed its first employers as customers last year.

Amazon last year also launched a central arm to consolidate its care, pharmacy and diagnostics businesses, tapping a former senior vice president of its Amazon Prime business, Neil Lindsay, to lead it. At the time, Amazon said centralizing its healthcare efforts would help the company develop new “customer-centric” ways for patients to access healthcare.

The company in July took a massive step toward expanding its primary-care services, announcing plans to acquire primary-care provider One Medical for $3.9 billion, or $18 a share. One Medical entered into the deal with Amazon after months of discussions with another bidder, an unnamed “Party A,” according to a One Medical filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

Bloomberg identified Party A as CVS Health, citing people familiar with the matter.

CVS Health has said it’s looking at acquisitions to bolster its primary care presence.

A CVS Health spokesperson said the company doesn’t comment on “rumors or speculation.” One Medical did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Party A reached out to One Medical in October 2021 to explore “a potential partnership or other strategic transaction,” according to the company’s SEC filing. Separately, in early 2022, One Medical and Amazon began discussing “potential areas of cooperation.”

Amazon in April said it would consider a commercial partnership or investment in One Medical, but likely wouldn’t be able to meet One Medical’s valuation expectations for an acquisition, according to the filing. One Medical said that “in order to be compelling, an Amazon proposal would need to reflect a significant premium” to the company’s share price.

Then, in June, Party A proposed acquiring One Medical for $18 per share. One Medical notified Amazon that it was considering an acquisition with another company, but that it would be open to a similar transaction with Amazon, the filing said. Amazon on June 24 proposed acquiring One Medical for $16 per share, which it increased to $18 per share on July 2.

One Medical alerted Party A that it was exploring other options, and that “if Party A had continued interest in exploring a strategic relationship … then time was of the essence,” One Medical said in its SEC filing. Party A did not re-engaged in transaction discussions after that meeting.



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