Amazon is quietly talking to health insurance companies about new ways to integrate its online pharmacy services into their medical plans and employer health benefits.
The online retail giant, working under the PillPack by Amazon pharmacy brand rolled out in the last year, is winning over health insurers through their health plan enrollees.
Take Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, which is working with Pillpack to integrate pharmacy services in the insurer’s app and website, in the kind of deal that could be a boon of new customers for the online pharmacy. The Massachusetts Blues plan said it was the first health plan to offer such “direct integration” and they did so because PillPack by Amazon’s services were so popular with Blue Cross health plan enrollees.
The health insurer wouldn’t say whether more customers were using PillPack services over Walgreens Boots Alliance or CVS Health pharmacies. However, PillPack’s so-called “net promoter score,” which measures how likely consumers are to recommend a product, was higher than other pharmacies, the Massachusetts Blue Cross plan said.
“Members have reported higher satisfaction with PillPack than with other pharmacy options,” a spokeswoman for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts said referring to a “net promoter score” of 74 for PillPack compared to 26 for “other Rx.” That is why Massachusetts Blue Cross wanted to work with PillPack, the spokeswoman said.
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Analysts have doubted Pillpack’s deeper entrance into the pharmacy space without a health insurer or pharmacy benefit manager under Amazon ownership. “We continue to believe that Amazon’s ability to gain market share will be slow given Pillpack’s lack of relationships with major payers,” Mizuho Securities analyst Ann Hynes said in a report last month.
“We believe Amazon’s strategy is to gain more of the Prime member’s wallet. Prime members tend to be less price sensitive,” Hynes said. “Ultimately, we believe Amazon will need to buy a PBM/payer to move major market share in pharmacy.”
Whether such net promoter scores will translate into more business for PillPack is unclear, but it’s yet another way the online pharmacy can lure new business with employers and insurers looking for quality and low cost pharmacy services. “We’re proud to be part of this integration and look forward to serving more Blue Cross members,” a PillPack spokeswoman said.