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Oscar raises $145M in funding, now worth $1.5B

Startup insurer plans to add staff and services, enter new markets

New York-based startup Oscar Insurance Corp. raised $145 million in its latest round of funding. That investment values Oscar at about $1.5 billion, or three times its January value, according to the New York Times.

Since its launch 16 months ago, Oscar has enrolled about 40,000 members in the New York-New Jersey area, the Times said. The company brings in about $200 million in annual revenue, Wired reported.

Oscar has made waves in the health insurance industry by reinventing the customer experience with an easy-to-use website and support for 24/7 televisits. For example, 60 percent of the insurer's members who get bronchitis use the telemedicine feature to receive a diagnosis and obtain treatment, according to Wired. As a result, 93 percent of these cases can be resolved over the phone.

In addition, Oscar gives all members a free Misfit Flash activity tracker. Members who achieve fitness goals can receive up to $240 per year in Amazon gift cards, according to MedCity News. About two-thirds of the insurer's members participate in this program, and they have logged more than 2.5 billion steps since December, the article said.

Oscar's investors include Founders Fund, Horizon Ventures, the Wellington Management Company and Goldman Sachs, the insurer said.

The new funding will allow the firm to add to its existing staff of 185, MedCity News said. Oscar also plans to add new services and expand beyond the New York City area, the Times reported.

"Now we feel ready to expand our products to other states. There has been such strong customer satisfaction, we thought we were ready to push the product forward," Oscar founder and chairman Joshua Kushner told the Times.

Kushner declined to identify the new services or markets, but FierceHealthPayer previously reported that Oscar has shown interest in selling plans on the California insurance exchange for the 2016 plan year. The insurer also has its eyes on Texas, MedCity News reported.

Oscar's $1.5 billion valuation compares to $114 billion for UnitedHealth Group and nearly $38 billion for Aetna, Wired said.

For more:
here's the statement from Oscar
read the New York Times article
here's the Wired article
read the MedCity News article

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How Oscar Insurance is a disruptive payer