We got a look at Oscar Health's latest enrollment numbers, and they show why 2020 is shaping up to be a big year for the unprofitable health insurance startup


Doctor and patient.

  • We got a look at Oscar Health’s financials for 2019.
  • Oscar posted a net loss of $110 million, a deeper loss than the $57 million loss the company saw in 2018. 
  • Oscar is planning a big expansion for 2020 and expects to hit $2.2 billion in gross revenues, up from $1.3 billion in 2019.
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The buzzy insurance startup Oscar Health is looking to almost double its revenue in 2020 after a more subdued 2019.

Oscar brought in $1.3 billion in gross premium revenues in 2019, up slightly from 2018. It expects to bring in $2.2 billion in gross revenues for 2020 after a massive jump in membership.

The membership growth sets up a critical test for a health insurer that has yet to turn a profit. Oscar has raised more than $1 billion from investors who are enticed by its promise of a new tech-driven approach to health insurance, including Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

The health-insurance startup sells coverage on the individual exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act to small businesses. Starting this year, it will also sell coverage to seniors through Medicare Advantage plans.

Oscar’s 2019 financial results

Oscar Health CEO Mario SchlosserOscar’s financials are affected by two reinsurance deals. Fifty percent of Oscar’s revenues now get passed along to Berkshire Hathaway, while the insurance giant Axa gets about half of the remaining revenue, the company said in its second-quarter financials.

To account for those reinsurance agreements, Oscar brought in $494 million in net revenue in 2019 and paid out $418 million in medical claims. That’s about 85% of the premium revenue it took in from its members, otherwise known as the medical loss ratio. Insurers try to pay out less in medical expenses than they take in from premiums so that they turn a profit.

Oscar’s net losses grew in 2019 to $110 million, a steeper loss than the $57 million net loss the company posted in 2018. The company cited its investments in building the company as a contributor to the increased losses in 2019.  

Growing the business in 2020

Going into 2020, Oscar’s total enrollment increased by 63% to 420,000, from 257,000 at the start of 2019.

“This has been our most successful open enrollment in the company’s history,” Oscar Chief Financial Officer Sid Sankaran told Business Insider. 

That’s in part because of the growth Oscar saw in some of the markets it had been in for at least a year. 

“As we enter a market, what we see is we steadily grow share in that market over time,” Sankaran said. He pointed to Orlando, Florida, a market Oscar entered in 2019. It has grown from 30,000 members in 2019 to 40,000 members in 2020, Sankaran said.

Read more: Buzzy health startup Oscar is making a big bet on a crucial change to how you get your healthcare. The CEO shared how he thinks that will happen.

oscar health enrollment 2014 2020

Oscar’s enrollment figures include a small number of Medicare Advantage members who signed up when the company began selling those plans in New York and Houston for this year. As of the start of 2020, Oscar had about 1,500 members between those cities.

Read more: Venture-backed health insurers are all competing for customers in the red-hot Medicare Advantage market. Here’s our first look at how Oscar, Devoted, and Bright stack up.

Sankaran said the enrollment was in-line with Oscar’s expectations and that it was among the top five new Medicare Advantage entrants in 2020, according to a Nephron Research report reviewed by Business Insider. 

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