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Oscar's health insurance platform nabs another $225 million

Jonathan Shieber
Mario Schlosser (Oscar Health) at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2017

The direct-to-consumer health insurer Oscar has raised another $225 million in its latest, late-stage round of funding as its vision of tech-enabled healthcare services to drive down consumer costs becomes more and more of a reality.

In an effort to prevent a patient's potential exposure to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, most healthcare practices are seeing patients remotely via virtual consultations, and more patients are embracing digital health services voluntarily, which reduces costs for insurers and potentially provides better access to basic healthcare needs. Indeed, Oscar now has a $2 billion revenue base to point to and now a fresh pile of cash from which to draw.

“Transforming the health insurance experience requires the creation of personalized, affordable experiences at scale,” said Mario Schlosser, the co-founder and chief executive of Oscar.

Oscar's insurance customers have the distinction of being among the most active users of telemedicine among all insurance providers in the U.S., according to the company. Around 30% of patients with insurance plans from the company have used telemedical services, versus only 10% of the country as a whole.

The new late-stage funding for Oscar includes new investors Baillie Gifford and Coatue, two late-stage investor that typically come in before a public offering. Other previous investors, including Alphabet, General Catalyst, Khosla Ventures, Lakestar and Thrive Capital, also participated in the round.

With the new funding, Oscar was able to shrug off the latest criticisms and controversies that swirled around the company and its relationship with White House official Jared Kushner as the president prepared its response to the COVID-19 epidemic.

As the Atlantic reported, engineers at Oscar spent days building a standalone website that would ask Americans to self report their symptoms and, if at risk, direct them to a COVID-19 test location. The project was scrapped within days of its creation, according to the same report.

The company now offers its services in 15 states and 29 U.S. cities, with more than 420,000 members in individual, Medicare Advantage and small group products, the company said.

As Oscar gets more ballast on its balance sheet, it may be readying itself for a public offering. The insurer wouldn't be the first new startup to test public investor appetite for new listings. Lemonade, which provides personal and home insurance, has already filed to go public.

Oscar's investors and executives may be watching closely to see how that listing performs. Despite its anemic target, the public market response could signal that more startups in the insurance space could make lemonade from frothy market conditions -- even as employment numbers and the broader national economy continue to suffer from pandemic-induced economic shocks.