Amazon, JP Morgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway announced today they are forming a non-profit joint venture to manage and streamline their employee healthcare programs.
The CEOs of these giant companies -- Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Jamie Dimon of Chase, and Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway -- say the new company will focus on technology solutions that will provide high-quality health benefits at a reasonable cost.
Individually, the three firms have hundreds of thousands of employees who could participate in the new health benefits system. The three corporate leaders say the challenge posed by the current healthcare system is one of the biggest society faces today.
The new, not-for-profit venture will initially focus on technology for “simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare” for their more than 500,000 U.S. employees, the companies said. They did not elaborate on their strategy, but said they are searching for a chief executive officer.
Healthcare industry experts say the new entity could eventually negotiate directly with drugmakers, doctors and hospitals and use their vast databases to get a better handle on the costs of those services.
That could undercut the industry’s “middlemen,” from health insurers to pharmacies and benefits managers.
Amazon’s ability to gather customer data and integrate it into services such as Alexa could be a key component in connecting consumers with the right health plans and delivering relevant price points for drugs and health services. The move, announced Jan. 30, puts additional pressure on major pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens as well as Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) to improve their relationships with drug manufacturers, further reduce prescription costs, provide better health plans and enhance the customer buying experience.
Together, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase employ more than 1.1 million workers.
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