Humana and Oscar to jointly sell health insurance to small businesses

Humana building
In a new partnership, tech savvy Oscar will benefit from Humana’s large provider networks. (Humana)

Managed healthcare giant Humana  and Oscar Health—a New York City startup currently offering businesses health insurance  to companies  in the Big Apple, California, and Texas with100 or  fewer employees—have teamed up to offer commercial health insurance to firms in a nine-county area including Nashville, they announced on July 12.

The new Oscar-Humana plans will be available this fall, pending regulatory approval. In Tennessee, companies with 50 or fewer employees will be the first invited to participate in the jointly provided coverage.

The announcement follows the April launch of Oscar for Business, a technology-driven health insurance package that offers such amenities as a dedicated concierge service for members, free doctor on call assistance, a curated network of hospitals and physicians, and an administrative tool.

Oscar Health first made a name for itself on the consumer side of the industry, according to a report by Forbes—launching individual products on public exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. Indeed, Oscar is among the few health insurance companies to see success in bringing its technology and products to the ACA’s individual public exchanges. Larger carriers like Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealth Group have scaled back their ObamaCare business plans, Forbes said, but Oscar in the last month has announced expansion into several new states.

“This partnership is about coming together to re-imagine 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. “

The new insurance product will leverage Oscar’s concierge concept—using data-driven alerts to remind members about their care, 24/7 access to telemedicine and care search tools—and a mobile experience that “will empower members to manage their [own] health.”

In turn, Oscar will benefit from Humana’s large provider networks, providing small businesses that buy the health plans with access to physicians and hospitals.

In a joint statement the partners said their relationship “springs from Humana and Oscar’s shared vision to make health care an easier, more reliable, and affordable experience for their members through technology and connected care.

 “We started Oscar for Business to bring a seamless, consumer-focused health experience to more Americans, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to work with Humana to serve members in the Nashville area,” said Oscar CEO Mario Schlosser. “Humana is an ideal partner … because of our shared commitment to innovation, technology, and our members.”

Both Humana and Oscar chose to introduce this partnership in Nashville because, they say, it is home to one of the fastest growing small business communities in the country and has established itself as a hotbed for health technology innovation.

The Nashville partnership will be closely coordinated and run by an executive leadership committee formed between the two companies.

Oscar currently serves nearly 100,000 individual and small group members in three states, with plans for continued expansion going forward.The partnership does not include Oscar’s individual insurance products. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.