Shares in major health insurers UnitedHealth and Anthem fell today after online retail giant Amazon (NSDQ:AMZN), major holding company Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase announced a collaborative, independent non-profit looking to provide their employees with healthcare.
The three companies said they will look to “bring their scale and complimentary expertise” to the long-term project, which will initially focus on technology solutions to help provide their US employees and families with “high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost,” according to a press release.
“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,” Berkshire Hathaway chair & CEO Warren Buffett said in a prepared statement.
The project is still in its early planning stages, but will be led for the time being by Berkshire Hathaway investment officer Todd Combs, JPMorgan Chase managing director Marvelle Berchtold and Amazon senior VP Beth Galetti.
The companies stayed quiet on any other details, but said that long-term management, headquarters location and other operational details will be released “in due course.”
“The healthcare system is complex, and we enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty. Hard as it might be, reducing healthcare’s burden on the economy while improving outcomes for employees and their families would be worth the effort. Success is going to require talented experts, a beginner’s mind, and a long-term orientation,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in prepared remarks.
“Our people want transparency, knowledge and control when it comes to managing their healthcare. The three of our companies have extraordinary resources, and our goal is to create solutions that benefit our U.S. employees, their families and, potentially, all Americans,” JPMorgan Chase chair & CEO Jamie Dimon said in a prepared statement.
Shares in Anthem have fallen approximately 4.8% so far today, at $244.71 as of 11:13 a.m. EST. Shares in UnitedHealth Group have also fallen, down 3.1% at $239.71 as of 11:14 a.m. EST.