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How Amazon healthcare would change digital health plans


Mike Kane/Bloomberg Perhaps every insurer’s worst fear is that Amazon will eventually launch its own health plan. The company has given one indication after another that this, too, is a very real possibility. Amazon’s eventual entrance into healthcare is big news for incumbent insurers because it validates the supposition that Amazon may one day disintermediate health plans and sell its services directly to employers.

Having now worked at CVS, several Blue Cross plans and UnitedHealth Group’s Optum, I can definitively conclude these disintermediation fears are not unfounded. Driven by the digital revolution, consumer expectations of a seamless healthcare experience that is both transparent and affordable have finally caught up with the industry. If it can be this easy to shop and purchase products and services on Amazon’s marketplace, why should healthcare be any different?

Healthcare consumerism is inevitably on the rise, but the healthcare industry has been slow to catch up with the rapid digitization of its user base. In light of growing employee demand, employers have pushed heavily on health plans and PBMs to make a swath of shiny digital health tools available. This includes everything from app-based wellness programs to virtual chronic condition management for complex therapeutic areas.

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