Oscar Health's Mario Schlosser on getting healthcare right | Disrupt NY 2017 | Summary and Q&A

May 15, 2017
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Oscar Health's Mario Schlosser on getting healthcare right | Disrupt NY 2017

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In this interview, Mario Schlosser, the co-founder and CEO of Oscar Health Insurance, discusses the company's approach to using data and technology to guide individuals through their healthcare journey. He also addresses the current state of healthcare in the US, the challenges faced by insurance companies, and the need for a stable regulatory framework.

Questions & Answers

Q: Can you give us an overview of what Oscar Health Insurance does?

Oscar is a health insurance company that uses data and product design to guide individuals through their healthcare journey and help them achieve better overall health outcomes. We have developed a mobile application that allows individuals to track their health goals, communicate with our concierge team, and access personalized recommendations for healthcare providers.

Q: How does Oscar's approach to healthcare differ from traditional insurance companies?

Unlike traditional insurance companies, Oscar combines member services with clinical services through our concierge team. Our team includes nurses who monitor vital signs and provide personalized recommendations based on an individual's health data. We also have a deep integration with healthcare providers, allowing us to schedule appointments directly from the app.

Q: What are your thoughts on the current healthcare bill in the Senate?

I believe that the current bill has a lot of flaws and needs to be fixed. It is crucial to have a stable individual market design that can provide health insurance coverage to the millions of people who rely on it. We need to focus on controlling healthcare costs and ensuring that individuals have access to affordable and comprehensive coverage.

Q: Many insurance companies are pulling out of markets and raising premiums. How do we fix this?

The issue of rising costs in healthcare is a reflection of the overall problems within the healthcare system. In order to fix this, we need to control healthcare costs by addressing the inefficiencies and overpricing in the system. This can be achieved through a combination of regulatory fixes, encouraging participation in the market, and providing support on the premium side.

Q: Oscar Health Insurance lost $200 million last year. How do you plan to turn it around?

We have made significant improvements in our business model and technology infrastructure over the past few years. By engaging members from the beginning, managing our own technology, and building our own networks of hospitals and doctors, we have created a unique and powerful model. I am confident that these investments will lead to better financial performance in 2017.

Q: You mentioned being the first technology insurance company. How has that impacted your growth?

Being the first technology insurance company has presented challenges, as we have had to navigate complex regulatory frameworks and establish ourselves in a highly competitive industry. However, it has also allowed us to differentiate ourselves and provide innovative solutions for our members. Our focus on technology and data-driven insights has enabled us to improve the healthcare experience for our members.

Q: The government owes Oscar $200 million. How does that impact your financial position?

The government owed us these funds as part of a stabilization plan to support insurers in the initial years of the new regulatory regime. However, when these payments are delayed or not received, it puts a strain on our financial position. It is crucial for the stability of the individual markets and to ensure that individuals continue to have insurance coverage.

Q: Should insurance companies have a moral obligation to cover all 20 million people who might be missing health insurance?

As a country, we have a moral obligation to ensure that people have access to affordable and comprehensive healthcare coverage. The current system, with its high costs and lack of coverage, has led to personal bankruptcies and an overall inefficient healthcare market. We need to focus on fixing the healthcare system as a whole while ensuring that everyone is covered against catastrophic healthcare costs.

Q: You come from Germany, which has a different healthcare system. What can the US learn from Germany's system?

Germany has a mix of public and private sector partnerships in its healthcare system, which ensures that everyone is covered, regardless of their income level. One key lesson we can learn is the importance of controlling unit costs in healthcare. The US spends twice as much on healthcare as other rich countries, and a significant portion of this is due to high unit costs. We need to create a more competitive healthcare market where costs are transparent and providers are accountable for delivering value at the right price.

Q: Do you believe cutting out the middleman and reducing healthcare costs to the basics is the solution?

I believe that individuals should have the ability to choose their healthcare providers based on price and value. By creating a transparent marketplace and holding providers accountable for their costs, we can unleash an incredible amount of motivation and competition in the healthcare industry. This can lead to better outcomes and lower costs for everyone.

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