As I was looking for a new health insurance policy recently, I started searching for Obamacare, and the result in the first position came up with something called Oscar. I have vaguely remembered seeing the name somewhere… ah! An ad on NYC subway! I clicked through to fill out a form of about 10 questions that, to my great surprise, did not ask for my whole life story, or ‘how-could-I-remember’ type of information that you usually brace yourself for, when applying for health insurance. Good start. About 3 min after I clicked ‘submit’ my phone rang and a friendly voice announced that he is calling from Oscar and would love to discuss my application. Whoa! After a brief, informative, to the point conversation, I asked for some comparisons for Oscar plans and the quotes were in my email within minutes – transparent and fast.
These guys are doing something right! They are taking stress out of applying for health insurance, just like they promise in their ad. I’ve had lots of insurance plans, so I think I know what to ask for… and even I get frustrated by the process. Imagine someone who is applying for the first time.
To me, getting something done stress-free, equals great customer service. So, Oscar is bringing back customer service into an industry that has long forgot that it was meant to be all about customer service, and got entangled with complexity, restrictiveness and legalities.
Oscar is welcoming a wide customer base and their communication is clear about that. Given that their first market is New York with New Jersey just recently opening up, being inclusive of all of us in this mega-melting pot works well. Oscar ads covey a simple, relevant and friendly demeanor, and besides that, they are funny and cute – how many insurance companies got that?
Oscar is working to focus our interaction with the doctors – for easy questions we can just talk to them on the phone. Simplicity and cost control. The concept is not new, but it usually takes years of relationship with the doctor to be in a position to do that. Oscar makes it available right from the start. They are also offering a convenience of consolidating all the records in one place.
Additionally, Oscar is using technology to encourage its’ customer base to stay active: make a certain number of steps counted by Misfit Flash, sync with Oscar app and get rewarded via Amazon gift cards. Win for the customer, win for the company, and win for the healthcare system. Again, the concept itself is not unique, but the simplicity of execution and the fact that it is done by an insurance company -is.
Oscar is fast creating a customer base, and spurring conversations not only in NY healthcare innovation circles, but with stroller mommies and hipsters alike. So, what’s so great about Oscar? They live up to their promise of being a better kind of health insurance company by delivering customer service based on technology and disruptive thinking.
As Oscar continues rolling out to more states, Health Insurance industry beware: you are being disrupted!
image credit: gerdelyi.com, facebook, twitter.com/OscarHealth
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Elena Putilina (@lenaputilina) is a global marketing executive with experience growing megabrands in consumer packaged goods and healthcare space. Elena’s expertise is in translating customer insight to cutting edge innovation and marketing plans utilizing both, traditional (TV, print, experiential, PR) and new (social, digital, viral) tools. Elena is currently a Consultant, Marketing Capability at Brand Learning, and a Marketing Mentor at ERA startup accelerator.