Kaiser has long claimed to have a superior model - the integration of care and coverage. We agree that the theory is great but the factual results in the hands of Kaiser appear to be only marginally better. For example, we compared the rates for health insurance for 2019 in
Multnomah County (Portland), Oregon. Here's what we found:
Kaiser costs less. But the monthly premium for 2019 is not even 3% less compared to the local BlueCross BlueShield plan and a very small local plan.
This is not the stuff of a fundamentally superior model. This is not market disruption. This is not the Amazon way.
In February 2017, Kaiser completed its acquisition of Group Health, a Seattle-based HMO, for $1.8 billion and pledged to invest at least another billion into the market. Yep, right in Amazon's backyard.
If Amazon was so impressed by Kaiser, why would it launch a massive effort to invent a new approach for its own employees? Amazon suspects that Kaiser at its core is an old-fashioned hospital system that talks a good game. This is why it is willing to invest potentially billions to go its own way.