Watch out, world: 2019 is going to be a big year for health care. The all-but-done Aetna/CVS merger is already making waves with a new, more transparent pricing model. And then there’s Amazon, which continues to make waves, both with its business acquisitions and internal health care reforms. Its latest move is the hiring of a health care executive to liaison between its own benefits department and external parties, including the new Amazon & Co. venture.
According to the job description, “this new role in the Amazon Benefits Department will work closely with internal and external partners including the new healthcare venture. The Principal will be expected to have a thorough knowledge of, and experience with, medical and pharmacy benefits, health care delivery systems, health management, wellness and behavioral health management.”
The role is being filled by Jason Tzau, who has worked as a pharmacist and pharmacy consultant for the past 19 years, most recently serving as associate director of the health and benefits practice at Willis Towers Waton’s Seattle office.
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Puget Sound Business Journal speculates that Tzau’s hiring will be a boon for pharmacy benefits, writing, “the new role suggests that Amazon is moving ahead with rumored plans to eliminate middlemen driving up health insurance and prescription drug costs.”
As reported last fall by Stat News, Amazon has acquired wholesale pharmacy licenses in several states. The company could potentially leverage its retail clout and launch its own PBM business, cutting out the current middleman and totally transform the space.
It’s likely Tzau will take a good look at the company’ pharmacy benefits, given the the great potential for improvement in this area, but it won’t be his only focus. According to the job description, “this role will lead and participate in multiple key initiatives to enhance Amazon’s health care benefit programs and services, to simplify and enhance the employee experience, and to drive greater efficiencies in cost management and process improvements.”
The hire is just one of many Amazon has made in recent months as the company doubles down on health care internally and externally.
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