The announcement in early 2018 that Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway would be collaborating on a new healthcare venture turned heads. How could it not? With three of the largest, most well-known brands in business bringing significant resources to bear on the biggest challenge of our time, the gauntlet was laid down. After months of unanswered questions about how the trio would tackle healthcare, the program — Haven Healthcare — is starting to take shape.
Haven’s first concrete details have finally come to light: It aims to operate on an insurance model that arms consumers with up-front pricing, giving them the ability to see what different care paths would cost them and allowing them to become a more active participant in their own care. A patient-engaging wellness component comes alongside the new insurance, offering consumers incentives for living the type of healthy lifestyle that makes care less frequent and even more predictable.
Haven’s model is markedly different from the way most Americans experience healthcare today, which makes it interesting to watch, but it is neither unique nor groundbreaking. Medical Alley, the Minnesota-based global epicenter of health innovation and care, is home to companies that have transformed healthcare over and over again, including Bind On-Demand Health Insurance, the company that actually pioneered the on-demand model that Haven is borrowing from.
Bind emerged more than three years ago with $70 million in Series A funding to upend the traditional model of high-deductible, high-confusion healthcare. It gave people something they had never experienced with health insurance: cost certainty and coverage flexibility. When every service and treatment has a price tag that accurately reflects the bundle of services received, self-funded employers can enable employees to make informed, efficient and cost-effective decisions for their health.
And it works: Because they can make educated decisions about their health after being presented with a clearer picture of their treatment choices, Bind members pay less out of pocket — 80% pay less than $500 per year — and spend 30% less at the pharmacy despite utilizing their pharmacy benefits almost twice as often as the industry average. That’s compelling evidence that people will become better stewards of their healthcare dollars if you give them the information and tools they need.
It’s logical then, given the level of success they’ve already shown, that Bind would inspire imitators.
Haven will continue to draw attention – again, given the magnitude of its backers, how could it not? – but as it is only available to some JPMorgan Chase and Amazon employees, it’s fair to question what impact it will have and how soon it will be felt. Will the lessons they learn today be applicable when they’re finally prepared to open up the plan to all employers? Innovative options exist for other U.S. employers today – Bind’s plan is available now.
Transforming healthcare is hard; it requires understanding who the stakeholders are, what they need, how to deliver it to them, and how to bring the changes to a diverse and complicated population that comprises every American in one way or another. It should be unsurprising, then, that the companies that are actually transforming healthcare for the benefit of patients are the ones working in collaboration rather than in stealth.
Medical Alley is home to the world’s top hospital in Mayo Clinic, the nation’s largest private payer in UnitedHealth Group, and a diverse set of companies that together make Medical Alley the most innovative healthcare cluster in the world. This community’s history of, and commitment to, transforming healthcare comes from a spirit of collaboration that has attracted powerful players from outside healthcare’s traditional silos, including companies like Best Buy that already sit on the front lines of patient engagement and retail healthcare.
Haven may well succeed in bringing better healthcare to Amazon and JPMorgan Chase employees; in fact, we sincerely hope it does. But its success or failure speaks little to the state of innovation within healthcare. The reality is, if you’re starting to plan today for the transformation of healthcare, it’s too late; the changes are already happening. They are happening because leaders like Bind took bold steps to bring new ideas to healthcare and because the community around them saw the potential impact these new ideas could have and supported them.