Article written for Bluberry Pi Consulting by Kainoe Lee
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase recently announced that they would create an independent healthcare alliance to lower healthcare costs for their employees in the United States.
With healthcare being an ongoing conversation in the U.S., it is no surprise that America’s leading companies would dare to tackle the issue of the expensive traditional healthcare system. For many Americans, the announcement may come as a relief in a time when the cost of health insurance is skyrocketing, but for pharmaceutical and health insurance investors it has prompted fear of a potential upscale competitor that could dominate the healthcare business.
Before the alliance, Amazon had already displayed its influence in the pharmacy business, where they launched a line of over-the-counter health products.
“Having Amazon jump in is not a good sign for existing brands, either branded or private label, because the way Amazon works is its ability to take on unprofitable ventures for a time to see how things go,” said Matthew Oster, head of consumer health research at global market research firm Euromonitor International.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the average American spends approximately $10,000 on annual healthcare compared to a significantly lower cost of $7,700 in 2007. CMS projects that healthcare spending will continue to increase at about 5.6% per year for the next ten years.
“The ballooning costs of healthcare act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy. Our group does not come to this problem with answers. However, 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,” said Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO, Warren Buffett.
Two years ago, some of America’s major employers – including Verizon, American Express, Walmart and Marriot International created the not-for-profit Health Transformation Alliance (HTA). Their goal was to “improve the way healthcare benefits will be purchased for employees in an effort to create better healthcare outcomes and to “break with existing marketplace practices that are costly, wasteful and inefficient, all of which have resulted in employees paying higher premiums, copayments and deductibles every year.”
Over the years, this issue has become a stand-off between Congress and major employers who are trying to tackle the problem of lowering healthcare costs for their employees.
With Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase creating a similarly sounding partnership, it will be interesting to see how they take an innovative step in the same direction as HTA. Although plans final, and the healthcare alliance is still unnamed, the three companies are hoping to collaborate with other giant companies in the future and create a partnership “that is free from profit-making incentives and constraints.”
“Our people want transparency, knowledge and control when it comes to managing their healthcare,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase. “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,” he added.
Don’t let the complexities of the healthcare industry deter you from getting the services you need. Bluberry Pi Consulting offers patient advocacy services in the Bay Area that can help you navigate the subtleties of the healthcare field. Whether you have a suspect charge on an emergency room bill that you would like to dispute or you need to find a doctor in your area, we’ll work to get you the help you need at a price you can afford. All of our patient advocacy services are priced according to our clients’ financial means, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you are of limited financial means.
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