Amazon is teaming up with Berkshire Hathaway and US banking giant JP Morgan Chase to launch a healthcare business for their own employees.
Targeting workers in the US, the new company will aim to address “profit-making incentives” in the current healthcare system with the promise of providing more affordable and accessible medical care.
No information has been offered regarding what form the new company might take, although a press release from Amazon said the business would focus on “technology solutions that will provide US employees and their families with simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost.”
The project is currently in “early planning stages,” and details about its operational function, location and management are all due to be revealed at a later date.
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan hope that by putting their heads together, they can address current flaws in US healthcare and deliver a new and innovative approach to the way it is metered out.
Warren Buffett, billionaire CEO of holding company Berkshire Hathaway, said: “The ballooning costs of healthcare act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy. Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it as inevitable.
“Rather, we share the belief that putting our collective resources behind the country’s best talent can, in time, check the rise in health costs while concurrently enhancing patient satisfaction and outcomes.”
Whatever form it takes, the new company is poised to shake things up in the healthcare space. Amazon is no stranger to disruption, with notable pet projects including mail by drone and, more recently, checkout-free supermarkets.
“The healthcare system is complex, and we enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO.
“Hard as it might be, reducing healthcare’s burden on the economy while improving outcomes for employees and their families would be worth the effort. Success is going to require talented experts, a beginner’s mind, and a long-term orientation.”
In the US, stocks for major health companies and insurers plummeted following the announcement on 30 January, according to the New York Times.
Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, said: “Our people want transparency, knowledge and control when it comes to managing their healthcare. The three of our companies have extraordinary resources, and our goal is to create solutions that benefit our U.S. employees, their families and, potentially, all Americans.”