Earlier this year, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan decided to toss their names into the healthcare ring as they announced they would be forming an independent healthcare company for their employees.
The details of this joint venture remain vague, but the aftershocks are still taking the healthcare industry by storm as a new player enters the arena. Already, stocks in private healthcare companies have begun to lose value from the moment they made the announcement. This move speaks to the level of discomfort and frustration employers are experiencing with the inefficiencies of our current system in place, and whatever path Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan decide to pursue will set the stage for any companies that feel similarly. The initiative is still in its early stages, but representatives from each company are eager to begin finding a solution that fits their employees’ needs.
This is hardly the first time a private company has expressed interest in providing its own healthcare for their employees, but this is the first time that there’s been any real traction in the attempt. Healthcare costs are extensive, and the laws in place make any legal document challenging to interpret even by a trained attorney. Apple is another example of a large company looking to change how its employees receive medical care. Their approach is different, in that they are installing medical clinics on their campus, but the desire to provide where the healthcare industry has failed is clearly alive and well.
Healthcare coverage Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan could potentially look a number of different ways: they could simply help workers find a local doctor, steer employees to online medical advice, or use their economic muscle to negotiate lower prices for drugs and procedures. Another possible avenue for the partnership might be an online health care dashboard. It will connect employees with the closest and best doctor specializing in whatever ailment they select from a drop-down menu, and the companies could potentially strike deals to offer employee discounts with service providers like medical testing facilities.
- From Amazon, technology expertise and intense focus on customer experience.
- From Berkshire Hathaway, insurance expertise and capital
- From JPMorgan, the existing business relationships with the largest healthcare companies (as well as regulators), as well as possibly its payments/financial tech expertise.
Although the non-for-profit alliance is still in the early stages of its formation, it could change the way we as a nation look at healthcare and provide for our employees, and quite possibly give insurance companies a run for their money, if the stock market is any indication.