Human Capital & Careers

Amazon-Backed Health Venture to Shut Down

The Haven venture with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan apparently ran into logistical problems after promising to disrupt corporate health care.
Matthew HellerJanuary 5, 2021

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase are shutting down the Haven joint venture that they formed three years ago to reduce their health care costs.

As CNBC reports, the announcement in January 2018 that the three companies had teamed up “to tackle one of the biggest problems facing corporate America – high and rising costs for employee health care – sent shock waves throughout the world of medicine.”

But amid apparent logistical problems, Haven confirmed Monday that it will end independent operations next month.

“Haven explored a wide range of healthcare solutions, as well as piloted new ways to make primary care easier to access, insurance benefits simpler to understand and easier to use, and prescription drugs more affordable,” it said in a statement.

“Moving forward, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase will leverage these insights and continue to collaborate informally to design programs tailored to address the specific needs of their own employee populations,” Haven added.

According to CNBC, “The move to shutter Haven may be a sign of how difficult it is to radically improve American health care, a complicated and entrenched system of doctors, insurers, drugmakers, and middlemen that costs the country $3.5 trillion every year.”

When Haven was launched, shares of health care companies tumbled as investors wagered that the three partners would disrupt the system by testing new ideas on more than a million employees.

JPMorgan, for example, tested telemedicine options for employees in Ohio and Arizona, the two states where it has the most employees outside of New York.

But citing two people familiar with Haven, The New York Times said that “logistical hurdles had made it harder than expected to come up with new ideas that made sense for all three companies.”

Berkshire Hathaway, one of the sources said, has a wide variety of systems for administering health care at the companies it owns, so across-the-board changes were difficult even internally.

“Haven worked best as an incubator of ideas, a place to pilot, test, and learn — and a way to share best practices across our companies,” JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said.