Amazon and JPMorgan Chase, working with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, are rolling out employee healthcare plans, the latest example of big tech making unlikely alliances in an effort to carve out territory in healthcare.
The program, Haven Healthcare, aims to disrupt traditional benefits models, claiming to offer improved incentives and added cost transparency. It’s being offered to 30,000 JPMorgan workers in Ohio and Arizona – about 20% of the bank’s U.S. workforce, according to Bloomberg. Amazon is offering Haven health plans to employees in Connecticut, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. JPMorgan’s initial plan is run by Cigna and Aetna.
Ever since Haven was launched in Boston by JPMorgan, Amazon and Berkshire in 2018 under the direction of physician and writer Atul Gawande, the program has been shrouded in secrecy. In July 2018, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon told CNBC that Haven would start small, similar to how Amazon began by selling just books, with the goal of reducing healthcare costs by overhauling the entire ecosystem of medical services.
Haven was taking a long-term view and that progress isn’t expected in a year or two, but that as the venture develops better ways of doing things it would share its knowledge to help everyone, Dimon said.
Joe Evangelisti, a spokesman for JPMorgan, told GeekWire that the bank’s offering is a “simplified medical plan” that enables employees to know exactly what the costs are for health care services. The new plans will include free preventive care, no coinsurance or deductible fees, $15 copays for in-network doctor visits, a flat fee for medical services, procedures and prescription drugs, and annual out-of-pocket maximums, he said.
- At a Seattle event in September, Dimon said Haven had hired 50 people.
- The average cost of work-based family health-insurance premiums exceeded $20,000 in 2019 – a new record, according to a survey of employers conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. On average, the average worker annual contribution was about $6,000 for a family plan.
- The expansion of tech and financial giants into the healthcare space has been rocky. Amazon purchased online pharmacy PillPack for $753 million in 2018, and has fought competitors CVS and Express Scripts for broader access to patient data.
- Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled that former UnitedHealth executive David Smith could go to work for Haven. UnitedHealth’s Optum group had sued to prevent the move, alleging that Smith was bringing trade secrets to the joint venture.