/// Oscar Insurance Founders Bring a Techie Take to Obamacare (Interview)

October 7, 2013  |  All Things Digital

Image copyright Michael Seto/Business Insider Oscar co-founders Josh Kushner and Mario Schlosser The technology industry likes to think of itself as working on legitimately hard problems with the potential for massive positive impact on the world. Sometimes that’s true, other times… it’s hard to make the case. But in cases where startups bring tech smarts and design into large, hidebound industries, the good fight may actually be getting fought. The latest such effort is Oscar , a new healthcare startup. It offers its own health insurance. Oscar is the only new commercial health insurance provider in New York State in the last 15 years. The Oscar service includes three free physician visits, unlimited calls to a doctor at any time of day or night, and unlimited generic drugs. It is priced near the bottom of the market — currently the third cheapest of 17 options on the new Obamacare health insurance exchange in New York. To be clear, Oscar has not even begun to offer its service yet (January 1 is the kickoff). It’s getting a steady stream of press due in part to a famous co-founder, but that means little for its long-term prospects. Add the uncharted territory of health insurance to the gazillions of reasons that technology startups could fail. And the Affordable Care Act is not exact a beacon of stability. But here’s the Oscar pitch, honed over the last two years, which has raised $40 million from investors including General Catalyst, Khosla Ventures and Founders Fund, and is exceedingly well-timed to the launch of Obamacare, straight from the mouths of co-founders Josh Kushner and Mario Schlosser via a recent phone interview. Health insurance in the United States is traditionally sold to employers. That misaligns incentives around care for actual people, and creates data gaps between something happening, the availability of a provider, and the billing process. By bridging the healthcare process together, Oscar thinks it can be more effective and cheaper. And, not a pain in the ass for all involved. “We actually can make an impact because we control the relationship,” said Kushner, a real estate scion who invested in Instagram via his VC firm Thrive Capital and already has his own Wikipedia page .

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Oscar Insurance Founders Bring a Techie Take to Obamacare (Interview)

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