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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amazon's virtual primary care business Amazon Care has positioned itself as an attractive provider for app-based care within the highly competitive telehealth market, according to an analysis from eMarketer.

Driving the news: Amazon Care landed its first employer customer, Precor. It will charge the fitness equipment manufacturer based on how many employees use its services each month, Insider first reported.

The big picture: Employer health care costs continue to climb year after year. Some companies believe the long-term investment of virtual care post-pandemic may be the answer to reduce costs.

  • Nearly 90% of corporate executives surveyed by the Kaiser Family Foundation said they don't believe the cost of health benefits will be sustainable over the next five to 10 years.
  • That's why Amazon Care's pay-per-user model may be an appealing option for larger employers that pay a fixed cost based on the size of their workforce, per the analysis.

How it works: Precor's 800 employees would be able to use the services and the company would be only charged when the service is actually used.

  • Amazon also announced it would expand Amazon Care to all its employees nationwide by this summer.

What to watch: It's possible Amazon may eventually sync Amazon Care with its other health care ventures to fuel growth like Amazon Pharmacy, Amazon HealthLake or its HIPAA-compliant Alexa, eMarketer notes.

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Aug 13, 2021 - Health

Health care's burnout crisis

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Health care workers on the front lines in the fight against COVID are suffering from unprecedented levels of burnout amid the latest surge.

Why it matters: America’s health care workers are already burnt out from previous waves of the pandemic. But as hospitals in hotspots are filling up, and sick COVID patients are once again requiring life-saving care, the stress is being compounded by the battle over public health measures.

Hope King, author of Closer
Aug 13, 2021 - Economy & Business

Vaccine mandates exacerbate class divide

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Corporate America's patchwork approach to vaccine requirements is deepening the pandemic's class divides.

Why it matters: New cases of coronavirus, driven by the Delta variant, are up 86% in the U.S. over the past two weeks. The rise in new infections has upended return to work plans for certain sectors of the economy, while others can't afford to change course.

Ina Fried, author of Login
22 mins ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Microsoft's metaverse maneuvering

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Microsoft is pitching investors and regulators that its $68 billion Activision Blizzard deal is all about the metaverse, that nebulous buzzword taking the tech world by storm.

What they're saying: By my colleague Stephen Totilo's count, Nadella used the word "metaverse" at least five times in his conference call discussing the deal. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick mentioned the metaverse four times, while Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer used the term twice.