Amazon, Berkshire, JPMorgan health venture is disbanding

The joint health venture, named Haven, is disbanding by the end of Feb 2021:

1 Like

I guess they found out it’s easy to listen to podcasts, not so easy to change the game.

1 Like

Our old thread about this:

No “shockwaves” in the (formerly) foremost actuarial community.

OK, so original NYT article about the “shock waves”:

“It could be big,” Ed Kaplan, who negotiates health coverage on behalf of large employers as the national health practice leader for the Segal Group, said of the announcement. “Those are three big players, and I think if they get into health care insurance or the health care coverage space, they are going to make a big impact.”

But others were less sure, noting that the three companies — which, combined, employ more than one million people — might still hold little sway over the largest insurers and pharmacy benefit managers, who oversee the benefits of tens of millions of Americans.
“This is not news in terms of jumbo employers being frustrated with what they can get through the traditional system,” said Sam Glick of the management consulting firm Oliver Wyman in San Francisco. He played down the notion that the three partners would have more success getting lower prices from hospitals and doctors. “The idea that they could have any sort of negotiation leverage with unit cost is a pretty far stretch.”

From NBC:

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. Last year, Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett seemed to indicate as much, saying that were was no guarantee that Haven would succeed in improving health care.

Coming just three years after the initial rush of fanfare about the possibilities for what Haven could accomplish, its closure is a disappointment to some. But insiders claim that it will allow the founding companies to implement ideas from the project on their own, tailoring them to the specific needs of their employees, who are mostly concentrated in different cities.

Guessing a good consulting firm would have laid out all those “ideas” three years ago. Heck, I think even insurers have those “ideas.” Whatever they are. Which, they might not even have thought up.

Did Haven actually have any new ideas?

From NYT:

None of these ideas seem very well thought out or transformative. At the end of the NYTimes article, this was the only idea with any teeth:

Though I imagine none of the companies wanted to commit to creating their own provider network.

My guess: No. The insurers I’ve worked for over the past several years have plenty of good-idea people, and they have pretty much thought most of health insurance’s ideas already.
I think that Buffett and Bezos were secretly angling to buy the other’s company, with JP Morgan helping with the details.

Here is one autopsy:

But that geographic diversity also created a very challenging group to serve, Brian Marcotte, the CEO of National Business Group on Health, told Christina Farr in a conversation on Second Opinion. Healthcare benefits are dependent on the location of the employee, and Haven couldn’t introduce the same programs to all local markets. Instead, it would have to set up plans wherever they had employees, without the critical mass to make it a worthwhile endeavor.

Yeah, I said that three years ago, Post #2 on the AO:

The fact that their employees are mostly all over the place will still be a problem.

1 Like

I am still waiting for an article stating “its really NOT the insurance companies”


Amazon’s announced its own separate initiative after the closing of Haven, and it seems focused on improving access to telehealth:

JP Morgan announced its venture, Morgan Health, whose strategy for reducing costs is not very clear to me based on the article: