Oscar, Humana team up to offer new small-business plans

In a rarity in the payer world, two companies—Oscar Health and Humana—are joining forces to launch a new commercial health insurance product.

The companies announced their “strategic partnership” Wednesday, saying the new health plans will be available to small businesses in a nine-county region around Nashville, Tennessee. They’re slated to launch this fall, pending regulatory approval.

The companies chose Nashville to launch the new products because it's "home to one of the fastest growing small business communities in the country and has established itself as a hotbed for health technology innovation," they said.

Humana and Oscar said the new plans, branded under the recently launched Oscar for Business name, will deliver a member experience that features Oscar’s Concierge care teams, 24/7 access to telemedicine and care search tools, and a mobile experience that empowers members to manage their health.

“This partnership is about coming together to reimagine healthcare coverage for small businesses and their employees, with an emphasis on simplicity and the end-to-end consumer experience,” said Humana Group and Specialty Segment President Beth Bierbower. 

Partnering with Humana, added Oscar CEO Mario Scholsser, is ideal “because of our shared commitment to innovation, technology and our members.”

Wednesday’s announcement is just the latest in a recent string of new ventures and partnerships for Oscar. In mid-June, the startup insurer said it would team up with the Cleveland Clinic to offer co-branded individual health plans in Ohio next year. Later that month, Oscar announced that it filed to expand its presence on the ACA exchanges even further.

The insurer also launched a new machine-learning tool that aims to offer actionable clinical insights to physicians. 

All this comes as the company is still striving to be profitable after losing $200 million in 2016. Oscar’s earnings so far this year, though, suggest it may be headed in the right direction.