Oscar Insurance on Mission to Change Health Care

The aim is to remove the gatekeepers and make finding health care simpler


With a timeline, instant messaging, photo sharing, and the ability to make appointments at the click of a button, it’d be easy to confuse the Oscar Insurance app with Uber, Facebook or maybe Open Table.

But Oscar Insurance is health insurance wrapped up in a sleek package that, as Vijay Kedar says, makes health care “sexy.” Oscar Insurance is a New York City-based startup that expanded to Texas and California last summer and now represents about 40,000 Texans.

The similarities with the Oscar app and other popular apps is no accident — Kedar said that the company has recruited designers and engineers from some of the biggest tech companies out there because it wants to make a difference in the world.

“The mission is very big. We want to change health care.” Vijay Kedar

“The mission is very big. We want to change health care,” Kedar said. “We want to make it simpler and easier and that’s something a lot of people can get behind.”

Oscar is available to self-employed, freelancers or the unemployed, either through the online marketplace or Oscar’s own website or app.

Besides the modern interface, Oscar takes a fresh approach to the health-care process, making sure everyone is communicating.

“One of the over-arching challenges in health care is that insurance companies and hospital systems and physicians don’t always work well together,” Kedar said. “Most of the time the member gets caught in the middle.”

Oscar Insurance staff

Oscar Insurance staff


Oscar’s solution is to make sure the primary care physician knows about emergency room visits or other medical issues that come up. They actually will pay doctors to reach out to the patient to do follow-up visits.

“We try to close that loop and provide that information to individual physicians,” Kedar said. “We want to create a system that’s integrated with the backbone of technology that we’ve built in house to really tighten that.”

When members log into the website or the app, they’re greeted with a health-care timeline, showing all their doctor visits. If they have a medical issue they need treatment for, they can search for a primary care physician or a specialist with the price of each visit listed clearly.

They can select a doctor based on the price they want to pay, location, the doctor’s experience, and whether the doctor is a male or female or has experience treating a certain ailment.


Once a doctor is selected, the member is just a few clicks away from actually making the appointment.

Members can also choose a telemedicine option where they will get a call from a Texas registered physician in nine minutes or less. There’s even an option to take a photo that is shared with the physician so they can see a broken finger or a rash.

This service is free and unlimited.

The nearest pharmacy is already in the system so the doctor can put in a prescription over the phone without an in-person visit.

There’s also a concierge service where users can call or send text messages straight from the app to either a nurse or service specialists.

“We don’t want to have gatekeepers. We’re here to help to help find the right care for you.”
Kyle Estep

Another big difference with Oscar Insurance is the ability to go straight to a specialist for a condition instead of having to go to the primary care physician.

“We don’t want to have gatekeepers,” said Kyle Estep, sales leader for Texas. “We’re here to help to help find the right care for you.”

At its heart, Oscar Insurance is still a startup with its open, collaborative workspace. Everyone works at tables, there are no private offices and they like to have a good time.

“We have a dart board in the back, we had a team event at Escape the Room yesterday,” Kedar said.

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