Amazon’s health venture Haven to cease trading

Haven, the healthcare venture launched by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase is to cease trading next month after failing to achieve its goal of pushing down health insurance costs for US workers.

The joint venture had been billed by many as Amazon’s big move into healthcare when it was launched three years ago with great fanfare.

But since then there has been little news from the secretive venture sparked by an idea from JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dillion, with support from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Berkshire’s Warren Buffet.

The venture had sought to “transform healthcare” while also cutting costs for hundreds of thousands of workers.

But the Wall Street Journal reported that these ambitions proved too difficult to achieve, citing sources close to the company that had kept out of the public eye since its high-profile launch.

The company simply did not have the clout to effect a change in the US healthcare system, where insurance payments are often linked to employment status, according to the report.

Resolving differences between the three companies’ healthcare arrangements was another major factor that caused the project to fail.

Each employer’s healthcare arrangements required different fixes and as a result they opted to close down Haven instead.

Writer and surgeon Atul Gawande, who was appointed in June 2018 as CEO, stepped down in May saying that he wanted to focus on the pandemic while staying on as executive chairman.

The WSJ sources said that Gawande decided to move away from managing the company and other executives left as it struggled to make headway, including chief technology officer Serkan Kutan and chief operating officer Jack Stoddard.

Haven did manage to pilot projects involving flat rates for healthcare services in all three founding companies.

One of them involved around 30,000 JPMorgan employees in Ohio and Arizona and Haven also looked at ways to cut prescription drug costs.

Haven employs around 57 people, who are likely to be split between the three founding companies, according to press reports.

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