In a move that signifies Amazon’s continued foray into the healthcare field, the online giant will now accept flexible savings accounts or health savings accounts for the purchase of medical products.
According to a report by CNBC, Amazon said it was “excited to announce” the new feature, and that buyers could use FSA or HSA debit cards to make eligible purchases.
“Customers now have the flexibility to use FSA/HSA cards on a wide range of eligible over-the-counter purchases, eliminating the need to pay out-of-pocket or submit receipts for reimbursement,” Amazon said.
Amazon, in the past few years, has slowly been adding health and wellness products like medicines and medical devices to its catalog. Amazon also recently bought PillPack, an internet pharmacy company, in a bid to potentially offer prescription medicines in the future.
Prescription drugs are difficult to sell because of the complexity of levels and intermediaries between a drug company and the pharmacy. Amazon will need to collaborate with pharmacy benefits managers if it wants to tackle the issue of dealing with insurance.
Michael Yang, a health-tech investor with Omers Ventures, said that adding the health and spending account cards is a clever way for the company to collect data on how people spend money on health products.
“It’s a back end way for Amazon to learn about consumer purchasing behavior of health care products and services, as it moves more deeply into the space,” Yang said.
Stephen Buck, a health businessman who used to work at major drug distributor McKesson, said that if Amazon had a pharmacy, then “consumers with high deductible plans and health savings accounts may be more than willing to pay cash for prescriptions using these accounts.”
Some analysts think Amazon will start by going after the people who pay cash for prescriptions, which is about 6 percent of the population in the U.S. and accounts for a $450 billion piece of the pharmacy market.