Published: Sun, February 04, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

How Could the New Amazon Health Care Company Affect Specialty Pharmacy?

How Could the New Amazon Health Care Company Affect Specialty Pharmacy?

Insurers, health systems and others, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska and CHI Health, have launched price estimators meant to help consumers shop for care. Amazon prides itself on being a "disrupter" of industry, and analysts have been suspecting they would break into healthcare sooner or later. As large as the new Amazon initiative, it's not large enough to accomplish that.

At CSU, all students are required to have health insurance.

Just over half - 55.7 percent - of Americans get their health insurance from their employers, and about 20 percent are insured through the federal program, Medicaid.

This Kaiser Health News story can be republished for free (details). Just possibly, it's a partnership that could disrupt the US health-care system - in a good way.

On the other hand, 'these are companies with large white collar work forces, populations that are more used to a more boutique, catered healthcare experience, so I'm interested to see what for lower wage workers'.

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Little is known about how the three companies, which combined employ more than 1m people, plan to go about achieving their goals, but according to the New York Times, technology will be at the center of whatever they do.

So Bezos, Buffet and co. are not doing something brand-new, in attempting, as an employer, to make another attempt at controlling healthcare costs. While other costs - costs of living, transit, food - by and large remained the same, healthcare prices continued to rise. Intel, notes American Benefits Council president James Klein, has been a leader in direct contracting with healthcare providers. The Affordable Care Act took some steps toward fixing it, but numerous cost-reduction measures have since been repealed, leaving healthcare as expensive now as it's ever been. But, make no mistake, they do bring a combination of strengths that could revolutionize what I believe is the single-greatest threat to our nation's economy. A small, non-invasive, laproscopic surgery cost $15,000.

The bottom line is that the US spends almost twice as much on health care as a percentage of the economy as do other industrialized countries - while its people use about the same amount of health care.

Competition to host the headquarters drummed up an astonishing bidding war from cities and states across the country, many of whom offered drastic tax breaks and incentives in exchange for being chosen. Canton predicts that the tech giant will identify "health enhancement" as a "major market opportunity", and it will involve much more than the traditional medications we think of today.

Other business owners have tried in the past to tackle this problem, or have beseeched government to solve the problem. My best guess is that the new entity will deliberately bear no resemblance to the current group purchasing organization (GPO) supplier-paid fee model. Mainly these approaches are created to bring the most excessive doctors and hospitals back toward the average in terms of cost.

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The benefits to the expensive system are a short waiting period for care and quick access to new treatments.

"A person might exhibit a certain style in one environment in order to succeed, even if that style doesn't come naturally", according to a recent paper from leadership-consultancy Spencer Stuart.

But it's not really a fair system.

"It sounds like they [the companies] are limiting the use of health plans, but if they're going to get into that business, they're going to come up with the same challenges health plans face". If employers can explain to employees how and where their healthcare dollars are going, it will not only give workers a better understanding of their own money, but it has the potential to build a better relationship between employer and employee.

But Amazon may decide to shake up drugs themselves, too.

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