Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase announced on Tuesday that they were launching a healthcare company to offer services to their hundreds of thousands of employees in the U.S.
The extent of coverage was not clear, but if successful, this joint project could disrupt the healthcare insurance business and create a new model for businesses to follow. After the announcement, shares in U.S. healthcare companies plunged.
It’s not surprising—Amazon is an ecommerce giant led by Jeff Bezos, whose $119.4 billion net makes him the richest man in the world; Berkshire Hathway is led by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, worth $92.3 billion; and Jamie Dimon, worth $1.25 billion, who leads JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank by assets.
The new venture will be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints,” the companies said in a statement, and Dimon said that it could eventually expand to cover all Americans.
“The healthcare system is complex, and we enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, in a statement announcing the initiative. “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.”
Although this is currently limited to the U.S., it is unclear whether the initiative might evolve and spread to the companies’ employees across the globe—Amazon bought Dubai-based ecommerce startup Souq.com in March 2017 and JPMorgan Chase has a presence in the Middle East.