Is it all about price, price, price or will consumers in New Jersey be lured in by modern tech, connectivity to specialists, doctors and medical records all from a mobile device? Hopefully it works as Oscar has now raised $165M in venture capital.
New Jersey residents shopping for health insurance this fall will have more choices. The high-tech company Oscar is joining the Obamacare marketplace. The New York-based company looks more like a Silicon Valley start-up than a traditional insurer. Named after a co-founder's great-grandfather, the firm is backed by $165 million in venture capital. It offers customers slick online tools for finding nearby specialists and tracking medical records, with a website look that is sure to appeal to a smartphone devotees. Patients can also request that a doctor give them a call to discuss symptoms. "The health care system has been stuck in the 80s, in terms of having to call to make appointments, having to do everything by fax" said Linda Schwimmer with the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, calling Oscar a big leap from what most competitors can offer. The leap in technology may not be enough to lure consumers, cautioned Scott Harrington, a professor of health care management at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. "When it comes to insurance, it's all about price, price, price," he said. And those rates aren't yet public .