Virtual doctor appointments over the phone have blown up over the last so many years. Taking simple appointments out of the clinic and into the palm of your hand. Companies like LiveHeath have been doing it for some time now with great success. Now Amazon is delivering the same to its Amazon Prime subscribers for a little added cost.
Basically, suppose you find yourself suffering from something simple like a cold. In that case, you can pull out your phone, open your app, and usually find yourself connected to a doctor within minutes via video chat. That doctor can then diagnose you over the phone (unless there is a concern, which they would then direct you to a hospital or quick care) and even send any prescriptions to your pharmacy.
The process is quick and painless compared to having to step away from what you are doing (ie, work) and takes a small fraction of the time it takes to go to a clinic, wait in the lobby, and eventually get called to an exam room to go through the same process.
Amazon is offering it to Prime subscribers for a reasonable price of $9/month (or $99/year). You can even add additional family member for a lesser charge of $6/month per member. Allowing you to also include your loved ones living with you (partner, child, etc).
It’s an upgrade to the membership that makes sense since it would be financially impossible to add it in as a freebie. The service (called One Medical) supports various insurance plans, but they would only be needed if the patient prefers to have an appointment in person. If they choose to do it virtually over the phone, it would be covered under the monthly fee with no additional charges.
How much of a deal depends on how often you get sick in a year and how much your personal insurance charges you for virtual appointments. So if your insurance has a $50 copay/deductible for online/virtual appointments and you find that you make use of these services 3+ times a year, it is definitely worth it.
Of course, if your insurance completely (or mostly) covers your online appointments, it may not be a plus for you. But this is great for the many others that aren’t so lucky.
You still have to keep your own insurance obviously since this only covers those online appointments, but as mentioned, it could be a good deal for the many who could benefit from using it as a supplemental option.