Oscar Health Insurance is trying to improve patient outcomes the old fashioned way: cold hard cash. Running with the tagline, “a new kind of health insurance company,” Oscar is challenging the health insurance model by offering rewards to subscribers who achieve set lifestyle/health outcomes with a new wearable device they call “Misfit.”
The Misfit initiative makes it easy for anyone to participate. Oscar customers order their free Misfit wearable through the Oscar’s iOS or Android apps. Misfit syncs to their app automatically, eliminating the requirement for setup. Next, Oscar’s algorithm calculates what appropriate activity milestones should be set for individual users based on their health data. For each goal passed, users earn $1. Once they accrue $20, users can cash out their earnings in the form of an Amazon gift card.
Misfit may be an innovation to the health industry category, but it is hardly new to the world of insurance. Oscar co-founder Mario Schlosser explained the idea came to him by looking to other insurance categories, such as auto: “If I stay accident free, my car insurer will lower my rates,” says Mario Schlosser, “Why don’t we give these rewards to people when they stay healthy?”
Oscar is no stranger to cash reward programs either. The company previously offered customers $20 to get a flu shot at their local pharmacy. And though cash rewards might not work on everyone, Oscar found that customers were 2.5x more likely to get a flu shot with the reward system in-place.
Why It’s Hot
Misfit by Oscar Health Insurance is a disruptive program in a historically antiquated category. Ambitious, and certainly news-worthy we will see how successful the program becomes over time. Consumer health tracking technology offers insurers, healthcare providers and even pharmaceutical companies new opportunities to improve health outcomes and create meaningful shifts in behavior. And the more consumer healthcare data can be tied back to cost-savings and healthier patients, the sooner we’ll see more “Misfits” enter the marketplace.