Testimony gives insight on key aim of Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan venture

In a testimony unsealed Feb. 20, one of the core missions of the healthcare venture launched by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase was revealed: It's looking to redesign insurance, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The three companies announced their partnership in January 2018 with the goal of improving healthcare and lowering costs for their combined 1.2 million employees, but the company has released few specifics.

But testimony given by the healthcare venture's COO, Jack Stoddard, reveals it's focusing on how to "reinvent what insurance looks like in terms of benefit design."

Mr. Stoddard said the partners will begin by testing ways to make primary care more accessible and treating chronic illnesses less expensively.  

While the venture also is looking at pharmacy costs, it has no plans to compete with pharmacy benefit managers like Optum, Mr. Stoddard said.

The venture doesn't have products to offer, but will try to partner with companies that can offer them, he said.  And if they can't find what they want in the market, they will consider manufacturing the products themselves.

The health venture tried to keep part of Mr. Stoddard's testimony private, but U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf ruled that a full transcript should be released. The motion to release the transcript to the public was brought by The Wall Street Journal.  

The lawsuit, filed by UnitedHealth group, seeks to prevent former Optum employee David Smith from working at the venture.

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