JPMorgan Adds Financial Muscle To Healthcare Venture

Three companies with 'extraordinary resources' will pool them to provide employees and their families with a new health coverage model

JPMorgan, which has a team dedicated to healthcare M&A, brings its financial prowess to its partners as they jointly deal with reimbursement schedules and capitation arrangements that have penalized smaller financial firms in past attempts.

“The three of our companies have extraordinary resources, and our goal is to create solutions that benefit our US employees, their families and, potentially, all Americans,” JPMorgan chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon says. Warren Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway and Jeff Bezos’s online retail giant Amazon are respectively numbers. 2 and 12 on the Fortune 500 list of the largest US companies.

The convergence of finance, tech and healthcare might become a global trend. Asian investment firm Hillhouse Capital and Chinese tech company Tencent have partnered with UK insurer Aviva to create a digital insurance venture in Hong Kong.

generic doctor

But unlike most other countries, the US does not have a universal healthcare system. Most services are delivered privately, even if publicly funded. Half of non-elderly Americans, or 151 million, are covered by employers, according to a 2017 survey by Kaiser/HRET.

Vecchietti said the venture’s odds for success are complicated by the dominance of UnitedHealth Group, with a 25.8% market share, Anthem at 11.9%, Aetna at 7.8%, Humana at 7% and Cigna at 4.2%.

“If they see any bit of threat, they would do whatever they could to eliminate any sort of competition,” Vecchietti says.                                                      —

JPMorgan Chase will need all its financial strength, pioneering spirit and negotiating skills as it joins an ambitious partnership with Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway to create an independent healthcare company for their employees.

Such non-financial corporate giants as Walmart, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Exxon Mobil have tried to cut insurance costs by negotiating directly with healthcare providers. Still, the complexity of the US healthcare system has made it difficult for even large conglomerates to prevent hospitals and medical practices from raising their prices.

“Many have failed before them, but none of them had combined such big names to focus on an end goal,” says John Vecchietti, healthcare analyst at CRI Capital Advisors.