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Amazon May Do More Than Make You Rich; It Could Literally Save Your Life One Day

By Jeff Little - Updated Apr 14, 2021 at 8:02PM

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The tech giant is working on a strategy to expand health services beyond its inner walls.

Many of us have used a service from Amazon (AMZN 0.25%) at some point. Maybe you ordered something online or watched a movie through an Amazon Prime subscription. So you may be pretty familiar with the services Amazon provides. The question is, how familiar are you?

Sure, you know the company is an e-commerce site from which you can order almost anything. It also offers multiple products via Amazon Web Services. Plus, you can get your groceries from Whole Foods, which is owned by Amazon. But did you know that Amazon also offers health services and is planning to extend those services outside of its employee circle?

Doctor speaking with someone via tablet.

Image source: Getty Images.

Bringing care to the people

Many companies offer telehealth services to their employees through insurance plans and wellness programs. But what if your company doesn't offer these services, or your current health plan is inadequate? Amazon may have just what you need.

The company launched telehealth services to employees and their families over 18 months ago. Its goal is to expand those services beyond its own employees. In the future, you might be able to go online or call into a helpline hosted through the Amazon Care app to access medical professionals, either virtually or in person.

How it works

Acting as an operational and technology service provider to Care Medical, Amazon connects patients to medical professionals via the Amazon Care app 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The average response time to reach a clinician is 60 seconds. Virtual, at-home, and in-office services are available.

According to Amazon's website, the program provides urgent and primary care services. It covers prescription deliveries, blood draws, testing, vaccinations, sexual health, preventive care, and much more. Patients are able to manage their care through the use of the app and will have access to reminders, live updates on estimated arrival time of clinicians to their home, and care summaries as part of a follow-up.

It's happening now

Beginning this summer, Amazon will offer virtual healthcare to other employers and to its own employees nationwide. A second phase including in-person care will only be available -- initially -- in Washington state, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and other cities.

According to a McKinsey COVID-19 Consumer Survey, consumer adoption of telehealth rose from 11% in 2019 to 46% in 2020. 74% of users reported high satisfaction, and 76% were likely to use it again.

The U.S. telehealth market grew to 9.2 billion in 2020, and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29% is expected between 2020 and 2025. With massive potential growth and quickly expanding services, the opportunity is certainly there for Amazon to grab market share before competitors like Teladoc Health (TDOC -0.52%) and AmWell (AMWL 0.99%) establish firm footholds.

Healing patients leads to stronger business

While many investors are exercising a little profit-taking as the economy slowly recovers from the pandemic, I think we're in the middle of an opportunistic dip that warrants a closer look at Amazon. One of the things I look for when buying on a dip is to compare the news coming out of the general market against news and earnings reports surrounding a company.

The ushering in of a new administration, rate hike fears, antitrust probes, a general market decline -- these are legitimate concerns. However, in the case of Amazon, only six months ago the company saw a share price exceeding $3,500 before dipping as low as $2,960. The support has held around the $3,000 mark ever since.

Over the past three months, the average analyst 12-month price target has held steady at an average of $4,100, with a low of $3,700. Meanwhile, the future looks strong for the global telehealth market and is projected to grow from $61.4 billion in 2019 to $559.5 billion in 2027.

Amazon is still doing what it does best -- generating strong revenue and increasing profits. And now it's extending its Amazon Care services to the general public to further support improved quality in healthcare. Its sights are set on a portion of that projected $559 billion market.

Although there is no guarantee that these services will catch on with other employers, I'd be willing to speculate that Amazon will find a way to provide the care where it's needed and meet the targets that reward investors who get in now. For that reason alone, it may be worthwhile to have Amazon firmly planted in your portfolio for the long term.

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Stocks Mentioned, Inc. Stock Quote, Inc.
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American Well Corporation
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