Two healthcare startups help in the push to get uninsured Americans enrolled

Two healthcare startup companies will help in the Obama administration's push to get uninsured Americans to sign up for healthcare insurance, according to a posting on the White House blog Tuesday.

ZocDoc and Oscar Health will use the Internet to reach out to people and urge them to sign up for health insurance through the marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act, the White House said.

The country's uninsured rate is now at its lowest level ever, with more than 90 percent of Americans with health coverage. But 10.5 million people eligible for coverage through ACA exchanges remain uninsured and the White House hopes to get them to sign up during the ongoing open enrollment period. About half of those uninsured are thought to be between the ages of 18 and 34 and may be reached through these tech-savvy companies.

ZocDoc, the New York-based service that offers appointment reminders and guidance to users regarding needed medical visits, will use its Web and email products to reach out to hundreds of thousands of its customers that it believes may not have insurance coverage, the White House said. For example, it will target customers who have booked doctor's visits on ZocDoc and signaled they will pay in cash. The company will urge customers to visit the site and either sign up for coverage before the Dec. 15 deadline or change plans for coverage starting Jan. 1.

Oscar, the Google Capital-backed startup health insurance company that runs like an Internet service, has created a digital voice public service announcement aimed at uninsured Americans who are skeptical about the costs of obtaining insurance. The digital video will explain why health insurance is more affordable than people may think, the blog posting said. Oscar will also distribute the video online in key markets that include California, New York and Texas--states with high numbers of uninsured people.

 "Both ZocDoc and Oscar Health are just two recent examples of how creative use of new technologies can help empower citizens with knowledge and opportunities to help address today's public policy challenges together," the White House post said.

Also on Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced it will partner with key national organizations to support LGBT outreach and enrollment efforts as part of LGBT Week of Action that runs from Dec. 7-11. These organizations, including Out2Enroll, will use social media campaigns to urge members to sign up for health insurance and provide in-person assistance.

To learn more:
- read the White House blog
- read the HHS announcement