Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan End Health-Care Venture Haven

Turns out billionaires can’t solve everything.
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Haven Health, a joint venture between Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase and their CEOs with intentions to revolutionize the health-care industry, is folding roughly three years after its inception, WSJ reports.

Why It Matters: Billionaires can solve everything, right? Wrong. Jamie Dimon, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett sought to “transform health care,” reducing costs for “hundreds of thousands of workers at the three companies by pooling resources and technology.” But its goals ended up being too lofty to achieve, and Haven’s failure “attests to the challenges of making sweeping changes to the U.S. health-care system.”

Haven’s Response: “The Haven team made good progress exploring a wide range of health-care solutions, as well as piloting new ways to make primary care easier to access, insurance benefits simpler to understand and easier to use and prescription drugs more affordable.”

Key Details:

  1. Haven sought to improve access to primary care, simplify insurance coverage and make prescription drugs more affordable.
  2. But the venture’s attempt at innovation lagged, and it was plagued with turnover right from the start.
  3. It’s unclear how much the venture cost its three founders in total, but a person familiar with the matter told WSJ that costs “weren’t a significant factor in its shutdown.”
  4. Even while being involved with Haven, Amazon has been developing its own health-care efforts, which included launching an online pharmacy back in November.

Pulling The Plug: The venture will officially cease operations in February. The three founding companies plan to split up and absorb Haven’s staff.

Justin Oh:

Having worked and covered the industry, healthcare is very hard. It’s extremely complicated, hyper-regulated, involves complex payment systems, and requires coordination between many disparate providers and parties. 

The “modernization” and “consumerization” of healthcare will be a very tough nut to crack. One of the many challenges to advancing healthcare technology is the burdens and restrictions HIPAA puts on health data usage by technology companies. 

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