Oscar lost more than $200M last year

Financial losses are mounting for health insurer Oscar, which sells plans on the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

Health insurance startup Oscar lost about $204.9 million last year, though its top executive is still hoping for a turnaround in 2017.

The company’s 2016 losses were significantly steeper than in 2015, when it lost $121.7 million, Bloomberg reports. Oscar offered health plans aimed at Affordable Care Act exchange customers in four states last year.

In its largest market, New York, the insurer began offering more narrow-network plans in 2016 and hiked its premiums after losing $92.4 million in that state in 2015. CEO Mario Schlosser said recently that he’s encouraged that was the right move given that Oscar’s market share and membership in the state has held steady so far this year.

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Also in 2016, Oscar exited the individual marketplaces in Dallas and New Jersey, with Schlosser commenting at the time that “the individual market isn’t working as intended and there are weaknesses in the way it’s been set up.”

More recently though, Schlosser has said that in 2018 Oscar will continue to offer plans in the markets it is in now, and that he believes the individual markets will stabilize, FierceHealthcare has reported.

As President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans weigh the fate of the ACA, Oscar is in the curious position of having one of its top investors, Josh Kushner, linked closely to the Trumps. Kushner’s brother is the husband of Trump’s daughter Ivanka. Yet the company says it is gaining no special insight due to that relationship, according to Bloomberg.

Schlosser is also optimistic about the company’s overall prospects in 2017, telling Bloomberg that this year is the first in which Oscar is able to price fully on its own systems and its own networks, and that it now has more visibility. “We’ve got the machinery now together,” he said.

Further, the company is attempting to diversify its offerings by selling sell health insurance to small businesses in New York and California, the article notes.

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