Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase announced that they will form an independent health-care company for their employees in the United States.
The companies said the initiative, which is in its early stages, would be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints,” but did not specify whether that meant they would create a nonprofit organization. Because so few details were released, the tax implications of this new company also are unclear.
Those familiar with the partnership said it took shape as the three CEOs discussed the challenges of providing health insurance to their employees. They decided their combined access to data about how consumers make choices, along with an understanding of the intricacies of health insurance, could lead to new efficiencies.
“The ballooning costs of health care act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy,” Warren E. Buffett, who leads Berkshire Hathaway, said in a joint statement announcing the partnership. “Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it as inevitable.”
The companies said they would initially focus on using technology to simplify care, but did not elaborate on how they intended to achieve that or bring down costs. Potential avenues might include creating an online dashboard to connect employees with specialists or striking deals with medical testing facilities. Whatever successes they have could become models for other businesses.
Source: The New York Times, January 30, 2018.