Alphabet, a conglomerate best known for its company Google, is the latest major player to throw their hat into the health insurance ring.
The tech giant has shown their clear interest in innovating healthcare by announcing a $375 million investment in Oscar, a fast-growing technology focused health insurance provider.
This investment follows up a $165 million investment Alphabet had already made earlier this year, bringing Alphabet’s shares in the company up to a total of 10% — a number which undeniably proves their belief that health insurance could be done better, and Oscar might have some of the answers.
Oscar has been around since 2012, when it was founded by Mario Schlosser, Joshua Kushner and Kevin Nazemi (no longer with the company).
The company’s goal is to overtake big names like UnitedHealth and Aetna by using technology to promote efficiency and individual plan purchaser engagement. That individualization is supported by a user-geared experience that features sleek, simplified educational materials and welcome packets, as well as a user-friendly app.
In an interview with Wired, Schlosser shared a little of his philosophy in streamlining the insurance process:
“What the middlemen do for the most part is remove the competition in the health care value chain that would go towards building something that’s a compelling, seamless user experience. They remove the cost-containment pressures as well. That’s one big reason why health costs in the US have risen so much. In the end, you as an individual can’t really vote with your own feet and oftentimes don’t even realize how much health care costs behind the scenes.”
Putting power back in the hands of the people has come through an entire internal infrastructure for claims and clinical management that Oscar has built itself, as well as the highly interactive app that allows users to consult with a health concierge and get input before they rush to the ER.
In fact, Schlosser says that a full 80% of Oscar users who have made an emergency room visit made an app visit first.
When patients do make that hospital trip, Oscar has chosen to narrow their network to focus on only the highest quality care. That carefully managed list also seeks to support targeted preventative care.
Alphabet isn’t the first major tech player to get involved with overhauling the health industry this year. They’re just the most recent voice affirming that clunky, outdated, overpriced healthcare norms need to go.
Their goal is also centered on utilizing technology to streamline and improve the health insurance experience, applying data, digital consultations and user connection.
What makes Alphabet’s investment in Oscar different is that Oscar already has its boots on the ground — and is taking off running.
Although the first several years of building their infrastructure have yet to turn a profit, Oscar leadership is confident that this year they’ll be spending 85% of premium income on paying out claims, a figure that is in line with health insurance profitability standards (and improves on 2017 by 10%).
Oscar’s got a lot of things going that we love: concierge service, refocusing on quality primary care doctors and a streamlined customer experience. However, at this point the New York-based company is still only available in 5 states.
If you’re wanting some of those same options (and more) at an even more affordable price, Captiva Benefit Solutions can help. Let us tell you how!