What sets big companies such as the likes of Coca-Cola, IBM, and Macy’s together, despite the fact that they serve different industries? The one new thing they have in common is that they also do healthcare. Beginning this year, these three corporations, along with 20 others in the country, will be forming a coalition of sorts, called the Health Transformation Alliance (HTA). This is in a bid to control costs and enhance the provision of healthcare, specifically in the areas of coordination and delivery.

The alliance will target garnering data and streamlining the purchase of healthcare related products and services. The move, of course, comes as a response to the rising cost of healthcare in the country. Collectively, these companies have an annual healthcare expense of $14 billion, and are seeking to improve the way they pay, emphasizing the cost of prescription drugs. HTA will be looking to set up efficient spending practices that will allow better healthcare outcomes and benefits for close to 4 million people who avail health benefits from them.

Based on the press release that announced the formation of the group, the member list of HTA includes big names such as Verizon Communications Inc., Shell Oil CO, The American Express Co., and Marriot International Inc.

HTA’s operation are scheduled to begin in the year 2017, along with a pilot prescription drug purchasing program which has other initiatives as well, these set to start off in the year 2018 or later. The group is also planning to keep recruiting new members before they begin operations.

This move could have far flung effects in the sphere of employer provided health coverage, which for a long time has been how many Americans have been receiving their healthcare coverage. Participants have mentioned that they hope others will join the effort eventually. Until now, self-funding workers’ medical treatment through traditional insurance plans has left these corporations open to the rising costs of care and prescription drugs. These companies have mostly focused on altering the way workers’ plans and contributions are made out.

Insurance company officials have suggested that insurers could start pushing for an initiative similar to this one, as insurers also seek greater transparency about health costs and treatment outcomes. Companies that have signed on in the latter say they are continuing to provide health benefits, but must shuffle the way they are doing it more radically than anyone else has tried before this.

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