Of course, Amazon has been wildly underestimated before. But this one might be different.
A person at one of the companies who is familiar with the matter said that this is day one of the joint venture and that specific plans will take shape over time.
What's next, will these corporations begin to develop their own health care facilities like the industrial giants in China and Russian Federation?
Employee medical expenditures have been the driving factor behind these moves.
Efforts to increase transparency have been an important focus for employers of late and have "enormous potential" when it comes to transforming employer healthcare, says benefits consultant Jack Kwicien.
"There are a lot of companies, or arguably nearly all companies, in healthcare that benefit from cost inflation running as high as it has been for many years", ISI Evercore analyst Michael Newshal said.
The bottom line is that the US spends almost twice as much on health care as a percentage of the economy as do other industrialized countries - while its people use about the same amount of health care. "That's an insurance pool similar in size to many USA states". It's just a way for a contracted entity that looks like an insurer to act as a purchasing agent and paymaster for the real deep pockets: the self-insured employer. Combined, it's estimated that the companies employ more than 500,000 USA workers, emphasizing the potential impact of this entrance into the world of health care. I hope Amazon realizes this early and does not think that [its smart digital assistant] Alexa and apps are going to make us healthier and save any money.
When you consider what Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase each brings to the table, you're forced to acknowledge how well the group covers purchasing, logistics, technology acquisition/integration and just about everything imaginable touching healthcare's financial ecosystem.
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Little is known about how the three companies, which combined employ more than 1m people, plan to go about achieving their goals, but according to the New York Times, technology will be at the center of whatever they do.
Beyond that, health care needs to be financed. "We have incentives that go the wrong way with physicians being paid by how many patients they see, not the quality they provide".
Maintain a lifestyle of "wellness" through, for example offering membership to health clubs, discounts for Fitbit health tracking devices, or a direct bonus or penalty.
But none of these have done the job. These three "most respected corporate America CEOs'" combined expertise can tackle the complex system that is USA healthcare.
And, mind you, this is all within the context of employers providing benefits to their employees on an administrative-services-only basis, in which they pay the benefits plus a small fee to the insurance company for administering the plan. Amazon has taught everyone how to shop far better online than in stores and JPMorgan has had extensive experience with Health Savings Accounts, which are tax-sheltered savings accounts paired with high-deductible insurance polices that eligible people can use to pay for health care costs. They know the elements of the past playbook individually.
Although it remains to be seen if this new venture partially address those problems, it certainly seems like the time is right for a new player on the health care market that can - hopefully - prioritize patients over profits.
While they did not mention the changes that must happen in the delivery sector, implied is the assumption that doctors and hospitals will adapt to this new world, holding down their costs, making prices more transparent, and innovating in their physical and electronic delivery of care.
The companies revealed plans in a press release Tuesday morning, citing the rising costs of US health care as inspiration for the partnership. When these three threaten to disrupt an industry, those in it had better listen carefully and adapt as quickly as they can.