Health Care

DCW Discusses Amazon’s Impact on Health Care

BOARDMAN, Ohio – In an effort to change the way employers offer health care to their employees, Amazon joined with Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. to create an independent health-care company for their own employees. The partnership could drive a potential reform to the health-care industry – a reform that should not be taken lightly, said Bob Gearhart Jr., a partner with DCW Group.

Health care is among the top three expenses for companies that rises annually while producing average results, Gearhart said, stressing that too much is spent on health care. With the partnership, he’s preparing for a positive adjustment to the industry as the three business leaders use their wealth and prestige “for the greater good,” he said.

“To see these three [businesses] being able to bring this type of intellectual capital and be able to get their arms around the problem, I think it’s going to help everybody,” Gearhart said. “It’s not going to be fixed simply by this joint venture, but they can certainly get a lot of PR and use their resources in a way that will help everyone.”

To explore this partnership and the impact it may have on the health-care industry, DCW and The Business Journal are hosting the inaugural Employee Benefits 101 Live roundtable discussion on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 7:30 a.m. Gearhart urges business leaders and those in health care to attend the hour-long roundtable and learn what this influential trio can do to address the issues facing the health care industry.

Taking part in the panel will be Michael J. Rodgers Jr., an advisor for PillPack Inc., a full-service prescription delivery service that was acquired by Amazon in June. Rodgers has been in on the early stages of Amazon’s health-care plan development. He is currently a principal and managing partner with Axial Benefits Group in Boston, Ma.

Gearhart has narrowed down what he thinks will be the main purpose of the partnership’s planned takeover of the industry, however he is ready for the conversation to begin with Rodgers to get even more details.

“There’s three things that matter in a transaction with health care and that’s the patient, provider and the payer. I think what [this partnership] is trying to do is put as little layers as possible between these three parties to the transaction,” Gearhart said.

For the last eight years, Amazon has been a disrupting force in multiple industries, including retail, television and video, music, electronics and subscription-based digital content. Now, it hopes the partnership will set an example for the rest of the nation.

“The health-care system is complex, and we enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty,” said Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, in an interview with the New York Times. “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.”

All these details and more will be covered at Employee Benefits 101 Live, which will take place at the Holiday Inn Boardman on Oct. 10. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the discussion will begin at 8 a.m. Complimentary breakfast will be provided. Click here to register.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.