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Amazon, Berkshire, JPMorgan to Close Health Benefits Effort

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Three corporate giants have given up on an effort to start a joint health coverage provider that would be cheaper, and better, than the plans they were creating with help from companies like Kaiser Permanente.

The parents were Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase.

The joint effort was TCorp62018 LLC, a Delaware-based company now known to the public as Haven Healthcare LLC of Boston.

Haven said today, in a notice posted on the web, that it will end independent operations at the end of February.

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“In the past three years, Haven explored a wide range of healthcare solutions, as well as piloted new ways to make primary care easier to access, insurance benefits simpler to understand and easier to use, and prescription drugs more affordable,” Haven said in the statement.

“Moving forward, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. will leverage these insights and continue to collaborate informally to design programs tailored to address the specific needs of their own employee populations,” Haven said.

Haven came to life in January 2018.

At the time, the company had no known name, and some media organizations called it “AmBerMorg.”

The company received warm support from Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett.

“The ballooning costs of health care act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy,” Buffet said, in a statement about the Haven launch. “Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it as inevitable.”

Bezos acknowledged that the effort to revamp health coverage would be difficult.

“Hard as it might be, reducing health care’s burden on the economy while improving outcomes for employees and their families would be worth the effort,” Bezos said in his statement. “Success is going to require talented experts, a beginner’s mind, and a long-term orientation.”

In May 2018, Haven organizers hired Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a professor at Harvard’s medical school, to be the company’s CEO.

Haven announced in May 2020 that Gawande would move from being the CEO to being the chairman. Mitch Betses, the chief operating officer, took over management of operations.

Haven managers did not give a reason for the change, and they were also quiet about the company’s coverage development efforts.

Haven is one of many efforts by big companies to try to reshape the U.S. health care system in the past 20 years.

Walmart, for example, succeeded at changing some parts of the generic pharmaceutical market, by offering some common generic drugs for $4 per prescription.

Other efforts, such as efforts by tech companies to modernize U.S. patient health records management, have been slower to take off.

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