When the health insurance startup Oscar lost $92 million selling policies on New York’s insurance exchange last year, CEO Mario Schlosser could have joined the insurance executives blaming Obamacare for their companies’ struggles. Instead, he changed his business model.
Out went Oscar’s original New York model of selling traditional insurance — with access to nearly every doctor and hospital in town — to individual customers via the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplace. In came “narrow networks” that offer customers less choice but lower prices. Schlosser believes the new approach will make the company’s offerings more attractive to customers — and more profitable for investors.
Recent weeks have brought a storm of questions about whether the health insurance exchange system at the heart of President Obama’s signature health law is already unraveling amid defections by major insurers. But as Oscar’s decision illustrates, the true picture is more nuanced.