via Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON—Twenty major companies—including American Express Co., Macy’s Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.—are banding together to use their collective data and market power in a bid to hold down the cost of providing workers with health-care benefits.
The newly formed alliance of companies, which cover about four million people among them, plan to share information about members’ employee health spending and outcomes, with an eye toward using findings to change how they contract for care. Ultimately, some members say, they could even form a purchasing cooperative to negotiate for lower prices, or try to change their relationships with insurance administrators and drug-benefit managers.
The move, given the size of the companies involved, could ripple through the world of employer-provided health coverage, which has long been the way most Americans—about 170 million—get their health coverage. Participants said they hoped others ultimately could join in their effort. Big employers typically self-fund their workers’ medical treatment, through plans administered by traditional insurance companies that collect employee contributions in the form of premiums and deductibles.