Frequently asked questions

Overview

What is Amino?

Amino aims to connect everyone to the best healthcare possible. Powered by a comprehensive database that includes nearly every practicing doctor in America and experiences from more than 188 million patients, Amino’s service empowers people to make confident decisions about where to get care. Using Amino, everyone can find experienced doctors, estimate healthcare costs, and book appointments — all for free. The company is based in San Francisco and is backed by Accel Partners, Charles River Ventures, Rock Health, and notable individual investors.

Where does Amino’s healthcare data come from?

Amino’s data comes from de-identified health insurance claims spanning the experiences of 188 million Americans over the last five years. What is an insurance claim? Well, every time you visit a doctor, an electronic insurance claim record is created to help your healthcare provider request payment from your health insurance company. This happens no matter what kind of insurance you use, including Medicare and Medicaid. These records contain a lot of information, including facts on the doctor, the treatment, and the costs. Billions of records like these are created annually as hundreds of millions of people get care.

We partner with companies and government agencies that pay and process America’s health insurance claims. We gather the de-identified records and stitch together the single best picture of what’s happening in American healthcare for everyone to see. Learn more about the data powering Amino.

Where does the name “Amino” come from?

Our mission at Amino is to connect everyone to the best healthcare possible and empower people to make confident decisions about their healthcare. Clarity starts with the basics, including which doctor you see, which treatment path you choose, and which hospital you visit. The name Amino alludes to amino acids, which are considered the building blocks of life, as we aim to help people assemble the building blocks of their care.

Finding a doctor

How many doctors are on Amino?

You can find nearly every practicing doctor in America on Amino, with the exception of some dentists, optometrists, and those practicing in Kaiser Permanente facilities (for now). You can find profiles for 1.1 million doctors across the country, and detailed insights on nearly 900,000 practicing doctors. You might come across profiles of doctors who are no longer practicing if you’re searching for a specific doctor on Amino, or if you’ve entered Amino from a search engine, but those doctors won’t appear in your matches when you start a new search on Amino.

Do you exclude any doctors from showing up on Amino?

Amino does not exclude any doctors from being discovered on Amino.com. In some cases, certain doctors won’t appear in your matches if they are no longer practicing or if you cannot book an appointment with them directly (e.g., ER doctors), but you can still find information on these doctors on Amino. Amino is ad-free and does not allow doctors to pay for promotion or exclusion.

How does Amino rank the doctors that appear in my results?

At the core of our personalized, data-driven approach is an algorithm that ranks doctors in your area by the volume of patients like you they’ve treated—people with the same condition, of the same sex, and in the same age range as you. Once we’ve ranked matches, you can then filter the list by what matters to you, including: doctor’s gender, location, speciality, cost estimates, insurance accepted, and more. Learn more about the science behind Amino.

Why did Amino choose to rank doctors this way?

Research shows that the more times a doctor sees patients with the same condition or performs the same procedure, the quality of care improves. Experience is easy to measure in an unbiased way. We can see exactly what diagnoses and treatments a doctor specializes in just by looking at their insurance claims. Of course, experience is just one of many different factors you could use to make a decision about your care. That’s why we’re committed to adding more data-driven decision factors over time, from quality measures to the cost of care. Our goal is to provide you with the unbiased, data-driven information you need to make decisions with confidence.

Why don’t I see my doctor in my matches?

Your current doctor may not appear as a top match for you for a variety of reasons. Your doctor may have less experience treating people like you than other doctors in your area. It’s also possible that your doctor is outside the location radius you specified, or doesn’t take the insurance you listed. We’re working on making sure that our data is up-to-date and as comprehensive as possible. New information will be added on a regular basis. You can find your doctor by searching their name in the “Look up your current doctor” search box that appears in the website menu in the top right corner and on our homepage.

What’s different about Amino doctor profiles?

Our goal is to help you get the information you need to confidently make healthcare decisions. On each doctor’s profile, you’ll find practical information, like contact details, where they studied, and what languages their practices support. You’ll also find information you can’t find anywhere else:

  • A unique assessment of their relevant experience, powered by the most comprehensive database of information available
  • A breakdown of their practice and the kinds of patients they see
  • Where possible, cost estimates for medical services and procedures, which you can personalize with your insurance
  • When possible, information on their practice patterns that may be relevant decision factors for you

Learn more about how we calculate the stats you see on each doctor’s profile.

Where do Amino’s cost estimates come from?

Amino’s cost estimates are estimates of the total amount that you and your health insurance company might pay for a procedure—this is what we call the “network rate.” You’ll see the network rate across Amino’s individual doctor profiles, as well as on our new regional cost comparison maps. The network rate will vary based on whether or not you’ve specified your insurance.

Amino produces these cost estimates by analyzing hundreds of millions of real medical bills from health insurance companies—including the largest insurers in the United States like UnitedHealth Group, Aetna, Humana, Cigna, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and more.

Learn more about how we calculate cost estimates.

Why does Amino need to gather information about me?

We know that finding accurate, useful, and relevant healthcare information online can be challenging (that’s why we started Amino!). We also believe that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so we aim to show you information that’s relevant to you. To personalize your results, we ask you for some basic details so that we can tailor results for you. We care about your privacy, and you can read more about our policies on our ethics page.

What does Amino do with my information after I’m done searching?

We do collect some information automatically when you use our services to help provide, maintain, and improve our services. In addition, if you’ve asked us to book an appointment on your behalf, we will hold onto the information you shared so we can book an appointment as quickly and efficiently as possible. Learn more about our privacy policy.

Can I get my results again after I leave Amino.com?

Yes, you can always return to Amino.com to perform the same search. However, your top matches for the same search may change over time, since we’re constantly updating our database based on new information about doctors, interactions, and available healthcare data.

What are hospital affiliations?

A doctor’s hospital affiliation indicates that they can practice and admit patients at that hospital. Doctors can be affiliated with more than one hospital. On Amino, you’ll see a doctor’s hospital affiliations on their profile, along with Leapfrog Hospital Safety Scores, which can help you understand a hospital’s overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors.

Why do hospital affiliations matter?

A doctor can practice and admit patients to any hospital with which they are affiliated. If you’re planning on receiving certain types of care—such as childbirth or many types of surgery—the quality of the hospital with which a doctor is affiliated is important.

What is the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Score?

The Hospital Safety Score is a composite score made up of 30 different nationally reported patient safety measures that indicate how well hospitals protect patients from preventable errors, injuries, and infections. Scores are assigned to U.S. general hospitals twice annually, using a scoring algorithm to determine each hospital’s score as an A, B, C, D, or F letter grade. You can learn more about the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Score at http://www.hospitalsafetyscore.org

Which hospitals are included in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Score?

More than 2,500 general hospitals have a score, including any general, acute-care hospital in the U.S. for which there is enough publicly available data. Because of limitations and exclusions in publicly available data, the Hospital Safety Score does not assess hospitals such as critical access hospitals, specialty hospitals such as children’s hospitals or cancer hospitals, and hospitals in Maryland.

Where does the data come from?

The Hospital Safety Score primarily consists of measures collected and publicly reported by CMS, and also includes some measures from the Leapfrog Hospital Survey for hospitals that report to Leapfrog. If a hospital does not submit a Leapfrog Hospital Survey, Leapfrog uses data from the American Hospital Association’s annual survey and IT supplement instead. Hospitals are not penalized for not reporting to Leapfrog.

How is the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Score calculated?

The scoring algorithm was developed by an Expert Panel of patient safety experts from across the country. The panel carefully considered the evidence base and opportunity for impact behind each of the 30 measures they chose for the Hospital Safety Score, and they recommended Leapfrog use these measures because they represent the best publicly available data. They weighted the importance of each of the measures based in part on the strength of that evidence, and they regularly reconvene to reevaluate the merits of each measure. Leapfrog’s transparent methodology involves computing data for these 30 measures through a scoring algorithm and then assigning each hospital an A, B, C, D, or F letter grade.

Estimating costs

What are Amino’s cost estimates?

We believe everyone deserves to know how much their healthcare will cost. Amino can help you estimate healthcare costs for many common procedures and services, compare costs for doctors in your region, and calculate what you might pay out-of-pocket for a specific doctor based on your insurance. Our cost estimates can help you prepare for the financial impact of medical care and help you make more confident decisions about where to get treated.

Amino’s cost estimates are estimates of the total amount that you and your health insurance company might pay for a procedure. We produce these cost estimates by analyzing millions of health insurance claims. Read our full methodology for more information to learn about how we determine cost estimates.

How do Amino’s cost estimates differ from other estimates out there?

Amino’s cost estimates are comprehensive, actionable, and free for everyone.

Comprehensive: Amino’s cost estimates are derived from hundreds of millions of health insurance claims that reveal what real people experienced when getting care. The estimates incorporate prices paid for medical care over the past year, allowing Amino to show up-to-date estimates for millions of combinations of medical procedures, doctors, insurance payers, and regions.

Our cost estimates are built around an “episode of care”—a set of related services that a patient may need as they get treated. For example, in the case of an ACL surgery, a patient may receive anesthesia, radiological services, and medical devices, as well as the procedure itself, as part of their episode of care.

Actionable: Using Amino, you can see cost estimates for individual doctors, by insurer. Our cost information is presented along with other criteria that matters to you—the doctor’s experience, location, insurance accepted, quality measures, and more. You can also compare cost estimates of medical procedures and services in your region, based on our data from insurance companies. Calculate your own out-of-pocket costs to understand how much you might pay. You can then book an appointment with the provider of your choice via email or text.

Free: Amino’s services are free to use for everyone—on any insurance plan, with any employer, anywhere in the United States.

For more information about how we determine cost estimates, read our methodology.

What can I do with Amino’s cost estimates?

Our cost estimates can be used to see differences across doctors, start a conversation with your doctor about costs, understand how much you might want to save before an elective procedure, or help inform when and where you have a procedure done. Our cost estimates are designed to help you make more informed healthcare decisions, but they are not a prediction of the price you’ll find on your next doctor bill. Read our full methodology to understand how to best use Amino’s cost estimates.

Can Amino guarantee prices?

Your doctor might recommend testing and treatment during your episode of care that is different from the episode of care we use to produce our cost estimates, which could make your total cost significantly different from our cost estimate. Therefore, Amino cannot guarantee the price you’ll be charged by a doctor or hospital.

Our estimates are based on an analysis of what most patients typically experience, which can provide helpful context as you plan for care. For more specific estimates based on your particular health needs, we recommend that you call your health insurance company’s customer support line or your doctor’s office to confirm what is covered and what you might pay. Read our full methodology for more information.

For which procedures does Amino have cost estimates?

Amino currently provides cost estimates for many common medical procedures and services. Our cost estimates currently focus on shoppable procedures and services in the following care categories: dermatology, diagnostics, men’s health, orthopedics, preventive care, surgeries, vaccines, and women’s health. Find our full list at amino.com/cost

For which insurance companies does Amino have cost estimates?

Amino has cost estimates for over a hundred insurance companies in the country. This includes the largest insurers: UnitedHealth Group, Aetna, Humana, Cigna, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and more. Due to the nature of Amino’s data, estimates are provided at the network level. For plan-level estimates, Amino recommends using its out-of-pocket cost calculator, which enables individuals to customize results based on their plan design and deductible.

Does Amino have cost estimates for Medicare or Medicaid?

Amino has not yet released cost estimates for Medicare and Medicaid, but we plan to do so in the future. With our Qualified Entity Status through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Amino has access to 100% of the United States’ national, physician-level Medicare database and plans to release quality and cost information for Medicare doctors in the coming months.

Does Amino have cost estimates for people who aren’t insured or choose to pay cash without going through insurance?

Amino does not currently have cost estimates for uninsured individuals or those paying in cash, since many providers do not (or cannot) make these cost estimates public or easily accessible. Amino recognizes the importance of these cash prices and will be looking into new data sources in the future to serve this need.

How does Amino determine cost estimates for each doctor?

Amino creates cost estimates for doctors by analyzing health insurance claims data. These claims show payments data, doctor practice patterns, procedure location, and other relevant information. Our cost estimates are built around an “episode of care”—a set of related services that a patient may need as they get treated such as the procedure itself, anesthesia and facility services. Read our full methodology to learn about how we determine cost estimates.

How does Amino determine regional differences in cost?

Amino currently shows cost estimates for 9,000 cities. If you have specified your insurance when looking at Amino’s regional cost comparison map, you will see a network rate for each city—the median network rate. We determine the median network rate by looking at all the doctors who perform that procedure and accept that specified insurance company in that region, and showing the 50th percentile over typical patients for those doctors.

If you have not specified your insurance when looking at our regional cost comparison map, you will still see a median network rate. That median network rate is calculated by evaluating all of the patients with private insurance who saw doctors in that region for the given procedure. Then, we estimate what these patients would have been charged, based on the type of insurance they have and the doctor they saw. Over these patients, the 50th percentile becomes the network rate we show. Read our full methodology for more information.

Why do I sometimes see ranges for cost estimates instead of a specific number?

The cost estimate you see will vary based on whether or not you’ve specified your insurance. If you haven’t specified your insurance when searching for a doctor on Amino, you’ll see a range of costs associated with multiple insurance companies in that region. Read our full methodology for more information.

What is a network rate?

Amino’s cost estimates are estimates of the total amount that you and your health insurance company might pay for a procedure—this is what we call the “network rate.” You’ll see the network rate across Amino’s individual doctor profiles, as well as on our new regional cost comparison maps. The network rate will vary based on whether or not you’ve specified your insurance.

What is an out-of-pocket cost?

The out-of-pocket cost is the dollar amount you might pay for a certain medical procedure or service. Your out-of-pocket cost is the portion of the “network rate” left over after your insurance pays its portion. Your health insurance deductible, co-insurance, and co-pays largely determine your out-of-pocket cost.

How recent is the cost data on Amino?

Amino’s cost database comes from the past year, and will be periodically refreshed so that people can see up-to-date cost estimates.

How can I give feedback about Amino’s cost estimates?

We’ve spent months analyzing the accuracy of our cost estimates, and we’re always looking to improve the quality of our data. If you see any inaccuracies in our estimates, you can share your feedback in two ways:

  1. On every doctor profile with cost estimates. If you’re a doctor, you can click “Report an inaccuracy,” which goes to support@amino.com. If you’re a patient, you can click “Tell us what you paid,” which goes to feedback@amino.com.
  2. You can always email us directly at support@amino.com

Booking an appointment

How does booking work?

Before you can book an appointment, we’ll ask you to create a secure user account on Amino. Next, we’ll ask you a few quick questions about your needs and preferences, starting with a condition you need help with or a procedure you’re considering. Once we’ve identified the doctors who match your needs, you’ll be able to choose a doctor you’d be comfortable seeing. We’ll get a little more information, including your name and insurance, if we don’t have it already, and call the doctor to book an appointment at a time that works for you. An Amino assistant will be in touch with you via text message or email to keep you in the loop, get any additional information needed, and confirm once we have an appointment booked.

Can Amino guarantee a booking with a particular doctor?

Unlike other booking sites that only let you book appointments with doctors that are members of their service, Amino gives you access to nearly every practicing doctor in America. We’ll do our best to get you an appointment with your preferred doctor, but we cannot guarantee that they will be able to see you. Some doctors don’t take new patients, some require referrals from another physician, and some might not have availability at a time that works for you. We’ll take on the task of finding a doctor that can see you, and if for some reason we can’t book an appointment with your top choice, we’ll work with you to find an appointment with a different doctor that matches your needs and preferences.

What does it cost to book an appointment?

Booking an appointment through Amino is free, except for standard text messaging rates that may vary depending on your cell phone plan. Please note that booking through Amino does not affect the cost of the visit itself.

Your account

How do I create an account?

Simply click here, type in your email address, and create a password. You’ll need an account to book an appointment with a doctor. If you’re a returning Amino user, you can sign-in by clicking the sign-in link here.

What if I forgot my password?

Don’t worry. Reset your password by clicking “I forgot my password” on Amino. Then, enter the email address associated with your account and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.

What should I do if I forgot the email address I used to sign up, or it says my email already has an account associated with it?

Shoot us an email at support@amino.com and one of our customer support agents will help you gain access to your account.

What if I want to deactivate my account?

We’re sad to see you go. Deactivate your account by sending us an email at support@amino.com with the email subject “Please deactivate my Amino account.” One of our customer support agents will follow-up confirming that your account has been deactivated.

Amino Plus

What do I get when I use Amino Plus?

With Amino Plus, you get:

  • Free concierge booking services for all doctors (via email or text with a friendly Amino assistant).
  • Out-of-pocket cost estimates for common procedures—including office visits, vaccines, MRIs, and surgeries.
  • A health insurance dashboard that connects to your plan and helps you understand when you’ve met your deductible and when your coverage kicks in.
  • Out-of-network alerts for when you’re booking with a doctor or facility that doesn’t take your insurance—because no one likes surprise medical bills!

How do I sign-up for Amino Plus?

To sign-up for Amino Plus you can simply create an account on Amino and select your employer when prompted. If your employer is sponsoring your Amino Plus account you will automatically be signed-up for Amino Plus. Alternatively, you can look for an email sent by your HR and Benefits team for a specific sign-up link for your employer. Either sign-up method will enroll you into Amino Plus.

Is the Amino Plus service free?

The Amino Plus service is free for you to use. Your employer is covering the cost of this service for you.

What information does Amino share with my employer?

Amino values your privacy and does not share any individual information with employers. You can read more about our privacy practices by reading our Privacy Policy

How does Amino get my insurance information?

Amino works with a software provider to securely request insurance information directly from your insurance company. This is how we get your current deductible and out-of-pocket maximum information.

What if my insurance information is inaccurate?

Amino can’t guarantee that the insurance information provided by your insurance company will be completely accurate, since we are relying on them to maintain data quality. If for any reason, you believe your insurance information is inaccurate please contact us at support@amino.com and we can get in touch with your insurance provider to better understand why your data is incorrect.

If I already have a doctor, how can I benefit from Amino?

Even if you already have a doctor, you can still use Amino to compare costs and expertise between your current doctor and other qualified doctors. Additionally, Amino can be helpful for when your doctor recommends seeking additional medical services such as diagnostic imaging and specialist services. We can help you find and book appointments for these medical services while keeping you in-network and lowering your costs.

How does Amino Plus compare to other healthcare services on the Internet?

Amino Plus is more comprehensive, actionable, and unbiased than other services on the Internet.

  • Comprehensive: Amino has profiles and cost estimates for every doctor in America. Unlike other services, the information that we have on doctors and medical services comes from de-identified health insurance claims on every doctor in America, 200+ million Americans, and billions in real medical bills. These records contain a lot of information, including facts on the doctor, the treatment, and the costs.
  • Actionable: Your Amino Plus account is personalized to your specific insurance plan, which helps you track where you’re at with your deductible so you can calculate your out-of-pocket costs. Amino also shows you alerts for in-network and out-of-network care, and will help you book an appointment with any doctor of your choosing.
  • Unbiased: Unlike many other healthcare websites, there are no advertisements and no paid promotions on Amino. When you look for a doctor, you’re getting results that are data-driven and unbiased.

Do I need to pick the lowest-cost doctor?

Not at all. Which doctor you decide on is your choice. Amino’s goal is to provide you with the tools necessary to make an informed healthcare decision.

Can my spouse and eligible dependents sign-up for Amino Plus?

Yes, we highly encourage you to invite your family members to sign up for an Amino Plus account if they are on the same employer-sponsored insurance plan as you are. Amino Plus will be available for free to any family members also on your employer-sponsored insurance plan.

Will my personal information be shared with my family?

Amino abides by all federal and state healthcare laws, including HIPAA. You will only be able to view your own insurance information and your family deductible and out-of-pocket max. Likewise, your family members will only be able to see their own information and the shared family insurance information.

Privacy & Ethics

How does Amino protect my privacy?

Your trust is important to us, so we don’t identify individuals in our healthcare database. Our pledge to you:

  • We do not sell any data that personally identifies you.
  • We do not use your identifiable health information to sell advertising.
  • We use best practices to secure our health data.

For more information about our privacy practices, see our Privacy Policy.

Does Amino have information about me in its healthcare database?

Our data includes the experiences of 188 million Americans over the last five years, pulled from electronic insurance claim records. We have no way to know if your personal healthcare experiences are included in our database because all data is de-identified before it hits our servers. For more information about our privacy practices, see our Privacy Policy.

Can Amino give me medical advice?

Amino can help you understand your choices, but we don’t endorse any doctors or offer medical advice. Learn more.

Does Amino have relationships with providers?

Unlike many other healthcare websites, there are no advertisements and no paid promotion on Amino. When you look for a doctor, you’re getting results that are data-driven and unbiased. If a doctor reaches out to us with contact or biographical updates to their profile page, we’ll review those requests on a case-by-case basis to ensure accuracy and maintain our unbiased approach.

For medical professionals

How can I update my profile to reflect a change in my contact information or practice?

If you’re a doctor or manage a doctor’s office and see inaccurate information on your profile page, please email us at support@amino.com with a link to your profile page and a description of what you perceive to be inaccurate. We’ll review those requests on a case-by-case basis to ensure accuracy and maintain our unbiased approach. If the change will improve accuracy, we will send you a custom URL to submit changes.

Why can’t I claim my profile and use it to market my practice to patients?

Unlike many other healthcare websites, there are no advertisements on Amino. When people look for a doctor on Amino, they get results that are data-driven and unbiased. While you are welcome to share your Amino profile with patients to help explain your practice, you are not able to change the statistics about the practice, and you cannot influence where you show up in search results.