New details emerged about the healthcare venture between Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase during a court battle with UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest healthcare insurer, The Wall Street Journal reported.
UnitedHealthcare took the unnamed venture to court over the hiring of a former United executive, with its Optum business filing a lawsuit to prevent former employee David W. Smith from working at the venture company. According to United, the hire violated a noncompete clause. However, the healthcare venture argued it is focused solely on the employees of the three companies, and therefore is not a competitor.
Smith was also accused of accessing confidential filings before he left for the new venture, the WSJ reported. In the court hearing, Smith described his role as analyzing the healthcare needs of the employee patient pool and stated selling any innovative ideas outside the venture was not on the near-term horizon, the WSJ reported. The judge did not rule on the restraining order of the hiring on Jan. 30, the day of the hearing.
The details shed some light on the opaque operations of the venture, which was announced at the start of 2018 with the goal of addressing the healthcare needs and costs of the 1.1 million employees across the three companies.
Other guesses about the larger picture of Amazon’s foray into the healthcare space have been based on acquisitions and hiring moves. The entity has been quietly hiring healthcare executives from around the industry through 2018. Amazon also acquired online pharmacy company PillPack for approximately $1 billion last year.
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