In California, the widely popular New York-based health insurance startup Oscar may not be so hot.
About 2,000 people signed up for plans on Covered California, the state healthcare exchange created under the Affordable Care Act, in the two counties where it sold plans, Los Angeles and Orange. That number constituted 0.1 percent of 1.57 million who bought plans on the exchange for 2016, Modern Healthcare reported.
About 3,000 people also bought health insurance from Oscar, off the exchange.
California’s health insurance market has long been dominated by heavyweights like Kaiser Permanente and Anthem, and in some regions, Oscar’s monthly premiums are noticeably more expensive than those of its competitors. In Orange County, for instance, the lowest-price silver plan for a 25-year-old would cost $234-$254 under Anthem, $240 under Blue Shield and $231 under Health Net while Oscar’s version cost $263. Only Kaiser Permanente’s was more expensive at $267.
In Orange County, 250 people enrolled in health insurance with Oscar while in Los Angeles County about 1,750 did, the OC Register reported.
In New York, where Oscar got its start in 2013, the insurer has been favored by millennials, attracting more than 40,000 members across New York and New Jersey. It has raised nearly $330 million from investors like Google Capital and Goldman Sachs. It has since expanded to parts of Texas, besides California.
Much of the company’s appeal is in the innovative technological services and incentives it provides. It offers financial rewards for members who meet certain standards for being healthy, for instance. Those who request one can get a wearable fitness tracking device from the company, and they can earn money through Amazon gift cards for meeting daily goals. Oscar also has an app that it says 45 percent of patients outside California have downloaded.