May 17, 2020

Oscar looks to tap into the MA market, following its $375mn investment from Alphabet

Health Insurance
Health Insurance
Catherine Sturman
3 min
Health insurance company Oscar Health has grown into a significant player. Raising $165mn this year, with investors such as Verily Life Sciences, Capita...

Health insurance company Oscar Health has grown into a significant player. Raising $165mn this year, with investors such as Verily Life Sciences, Capital G and Khosla Ventures on board, the company is set to undergo significant expansion, empowering consumers through data science and technology to deliver exceptional products and solutions, whilst looking for new opportunities.

Its recent $375mn investment from Alphabet will see Oscar Health further enable the business to expand its reach into Medicare Advantage in 2020, forming close ties with organisations such as the Cleveland Clinic, Humana and AXA. Google employee and former CEO of YouTube, Salar Kamanger, is also set to join Oscar’s board.

Entering nine states and 14 markets next year, the company is set to double its footprint, spanning Florida, Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas. Enrolling over 250,000 members in 2018 alone under the Affordable Care Act, Oscar Health has projected up to $1bn in gross premium revenue.

 “Oscar will accelerate the pursuit of its mission: to make our health care system work for consumers,” Oscar Health CEO and co-founder Mario Schlosser stated.

“We will continue to build a member experience that lowers costs and improves care, and to bring Oscar to more people -- deepening our expansion into the individual and small business markets while entering a new business segment, Medicare Advantage.”

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Obtaining a $3.2bn valuation, the company’s aim to enter the MA market will create further competition, as it goes up against payers such as UnitedHealthcare, Humana, Clover Health and Anthem. The move will also allow Oscar to cater to the growing demands of ageing populations, who want more than what standard Medicare can offer. Enrolment figures are predicted to rise to 38mn, or 50% market penetration by the end of 2025.

Technology will continue to impact the healthcare industry, where the use of data and analytics, AI and consumer focused digital tools, such as mobile apps and telehealth, will form part of an ongoing revolution.

“What’s interesting to note is Oscar is not just innovating insurance, they also have projects where they’re building clinics, electronic health records, and claims systems,” noted Jodi Hubler, a managing director with Wayzata, Minnesota-based Lemhi Ventures.

Through a detailed interview with Wired, co-founder Mario Schlosser explained that the investment from Alphabet will enable the business to provide a completely unique healthcare experience.

“We will have the right data flows, the right tools, the right metrics, to make sure we hold the doctors accountable and make sure that whatever happens to you, whether it's a small thing or a really big thing in your life, you’ll get the best possible care at the right point in time,” he says.

“Indirectly there will be plenty of opportunities for us to learn from Alphabet as to how they look at data, how they analyse their own healthcare data sets, and questions they would like to ask of how the healthcare system operates. Whether in academic settings or other settings, I think there will be ways to work with others on answering smart questions."

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May 11, 2021

Walmart, the next health tech giant - a timeline

Leila Hawkins
3 min
Walmart, the next health tech giant - a timeline
The retail giant looks set to focus on health tech. We look at key moments in Walmart Health's history...

Retail giant Walmart has been building its healthcare division for a number of years, but its recent acquisition of a telehealth firm and the slow down of its clinic expansion suggest its focus has now shifted to health tech. We look at key moments in Walmart's history in healthcare. 


Walmart announces plans to provide "full primary care services" by 2020. The plans include opening clinics in underserved, urban areas, where the chain has many existing stores. 


A series of “Healthcare Begins Here” events launch at Walmart stores, where consumers are given information on leading healthy lives, as well as free blood pressure, blood glucose and vision screenings, and access to vaccinations. 


As part of the organisation's commitment to pursue a more data-centric approach to worker safety, Walmart partners with StrongArm, manufacturers of safety wearables. Staff begin wearing FUSE, a small sensor worn between their shoulder blades that detects injury risk. Within a year, ergonomic injuries decreased by 65%. 


Walmart opens its first health centre in Dallas. The 10,000 square-foot "super centre" offers primary care, X-rays and ECG, counselling, dental, optical, hearing and community health services. Prices are affordable regardless of health insurance status. 

The same year a partnership with Doctor on Demand is announced, a telehealth company offering mental health services. As part of the agreement Walmart employees are able to access these services for free. 


The first health and wellness clinic opens in Springdale, Arkansas, providing primary care, dental care, vision and hearing services as well as behavioural health, fitness and wellness education classes.

Walmart acquires CareZone’s medication management technology. CareZone's app reminds users to take their medication and provides refill reminders. The acquisition complements Walmart's existing pharmacy service. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart is in talks with Verizon to implement 5G wireless service in select sites, to help boost digital health services. 

As part of its COVID-19 response, drive-thru testing is offered at hundreds of Walmart Neighborhood Market drive-thru pharmacy sites, free of charge through Humana

The retail giant teams up with the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer telehealth services to veterans at stores in Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. 


Walmart Mexico signs a deal with Jack Nathan Medical Corp, a Canadian tech-focused healthcare provider. This will see 153 new medical clinics open within stores across Mexico, taking the total in the country to 203. 

Walmart announces it is acquiring MeMD, a multi-speciality telehealth provider. The acquisition will enable Walmart Health to provide access to virtual care across the US. At the same time it is reported that plans to open further clinics are deliberately slowing down. 

"Today people expect omnichannel access to care, and adding telehealth to our Walmart Health care strategies allows us to provide in-person and digital care across our multiple assets and solutions" Dr. Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president for Health & Wellness said of the announcement. 

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