Healthcare costs have risen astronomically in recent years, leaving many Americans uninsured, and others in fear of losing coverage. Even those with insurance are often forced into positions of obtaining health loans, suffering unexpected health problems, with lack of enough coverage for needed services. Government funded healthcare has done little to bridge the gap of rising costs. Though government healthcare was a solution for some, it didn’t solve rising health costs, or lack of coverage for millions of other Americans. In addition, when leading healthcare insurers began pulling out of affordable care, the government was little equipped to stop them.
As the political debates regarding healthcare options continue, private financial companies, assisted by leaders in technology, are opting for more immediate solutions for their employees. Amazon, JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway, owned by Warren Buffett, announced they intend to partner to find an overall healthcare solution for their United States employees. The companies intend to form an independent company that will focus on new technologies, which they say will result in simplifying the healthcare process, provide more transparency, and higher quality healthcare at affordable rates. They also hope to eliminate problems within present insurance models, including high levels of profit that contribute to rising costs. Such a venture may ultimately prove viable for all Americans, if successful.
Interest in the healthcare market is also not new for Amazon, who recently expanded into other industries, such as food and pharmacy. As early as last year, news outlets began reporting Amazon health industry ventures. Such ventures included the formation of a health tech team, entry into telemedicine, and wholesale pharmacy licenses. Amazon’s expanding technical role into various industries has resulted in more customer convenience, reduced costs, and faster turnaround times in those industries.
What this new healthcare company will end up looking like, the technologies or services included in an industry presently built around high costs and competition is presently unknown. Plans for this independent health insurance company are still in very beginning stages. If successful, such a venture could certainly provide a cost reducing model for other companies, and may result in a catalyst for change for the U.S. health crisis.