New York, NY — Next month, New York state will begin open enrollment for its health insurance marketplace. Among the most interesting players is Oscar, a new health insurance company that will take advantage of design and data to humanize and simplify the consumer experience with coverage.

Oscar was founded by three friends, each technology entrepreneurs in their own right, who teamed up to change the health insurance industry through technological interfaces, telemedicine and real transparency. Their goal is a big one: To create a user experience so intuitive and helpful that people seek out their insurer before their doctor. Essentially, Oscar will become part payer, part provider.

But, let’s start at the start: Simplifying sign up

October is open enrollment for employer plans, too. You probably remember looking at your own options last year in a series of charts and tables that added detail, but not clarity. A frustrated benefits rep probably tried to make it easier for you by using examples – none of which quite looked like your family. Oscar is using information design to change all that.

Exploring the plan that’s right for you is as easy as telling Oscar about who you are. Each of the underlined areas lets you customize the field with your own information.

The plans let you use simple right and left arrows to determine how much you feel comfortable spending now (monthly payment) vs. later (co-pays and other costs of treatment).

Each plan includes some perks designed to change the way people use healthcare.

Coverage made more transparent: Intuitive tools for members

When customers (well, future customers) login to Oscar, they’ll see their entire medical history laid out in a Facebook-like timeline. They can access claims from years ago and see new prescriptions they may need to fill.

They’ll be rewarded for telling Oscar even more. In the “10 for 10 program” members will receive $10 for answering 10 questions about their health and preferences. The answers from those questions will be used to initiate proactive interventions (like pairing up a nurse with a diabetic patient) and plan for future care and service needs.

Oscar’s data transparency initiative isn’t just about people, it’s also about their choices. The interface will allow consumers to see price differences based on location, facility and desired services. Members will even be able to use heat maps to see the comparative price of physicians and diagnostics at a range of nearby providers.

The provider layer: The changing role of the payer

Oscar wants to be the primary place patients get the medical help they need. To do that, it’s taking on physician deserts, building new infrastructure and making a big promise: see a doctor in 20 minutes.

The 20-minute promise is an effort to earn adoption of a telehealth program powered by Teledoc. Using the service, members will have access to a doctor by phone within 20 minutes of a request, with no co pay. To further cut down on treatment delays and costly in-person visits, they’re also offering a prescription renewal program that promises “one-click refills” through a health records feed that resembles a Twitter timeline.

Not all of their services are high-tech. Oscar will offer member-services at hospital and retail locations, like CVS Caremark. That pharmacy chain is even building new sites for Oscar that reach people in places with few physicians or medical alternatives. In-home nurse visits will be available for members who need that flexibility and personal touch, like new moms or people recently diagnosed with a chronic disease.

Read more about the team at Oscar.

Find from: Matt Cash

Posted by: Leigh Householder

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation and Insights for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for building and scaling a global team of healthcare experts who together help life science leaders better understand the complex lives, influences and expectations of their customers. Specifically, they uncover actionable insights that fuel empathy and creativity; lead co-creation events that let marketers learn from peers, trends, and new possibilities; and help clients identify the most valuable and useful new customer experiences to create.

Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for nearly 20 years.She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she held several leadership roles at our largest agency, GSW.  There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business.

Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes.

A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. This year, she led over 250 experts to experts to focus on the most important changes in the commercial, consumer, marketing, digital and healthcare landscapes. (See reports at

Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts of 2017 by MM&M, Leigh also was recognized  as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.