- Haven — a joint venture by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. — will “end its independent operations at the end of February 2021.”
- The three groups will continue to collaborate, using shared insights to benefit their distinct employee groups.
- Experts noted that the promising, ambitious joint venture’s end highlights the challenges of employer-funded coverage and healthcare’s market specificity.
Haven to Disband as Joint Venture
Haven, a healthcare joint venture by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase & Co., announced that it will soon discontinue operations. The venture, which began in January 2018, initially focused on “technology solutions that will provide U.S. employees and their families with simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost.”
In a press release announcing the venture’s formation, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett 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.”
Although Haven will cease operations, a statement noted that the three entities will leverage “leverage these insights and continue to collaborate informally to design programs tailored to address the specific needs of their own employee populations.”
The History of Haven
Haven sparked a tremendous industry interest due to its scale and leadership, including Jeff Bezos, Jamie Dimon, Warren Buffet, and surgeon, journalist, and political advisor Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, who served as CEO from June 2018 to May 2020. In November 2019, the venture announced a health-plan offering backed by Cigna and CVS Health’s Aetna for approximately 30,000 workers.
In addition to the health plan, Haven “piloted new ways to make primary care easier to access, insurance benefits simpler to understand and easier to use, and prescription drugs more affordable.”
As Susan Morse reported for Healthcare Finance News: “The disbanding ends speculation as to what an innovative healthcare delivery system, driven by an Amazon-like experience, would look like at scale, starting with insurance coverage for thousands of its combined company employees.”
Haven’s demise highlights two major challenges in healthcare: succeeding in employer-funded insurance and optimizing care to fit unique market needs. Although Haven will formally dissolve, it remains to be seen how and to what extent these separate entities continue to pursue healthcare reform.