Oscar Becomes Latest Startup to Draw Scrutiny After IPO

Oscar Health Inc., the perennially buzzy startup health insurer, saw its shares slide almost 11% during its first day as a publicly traded company on March 3. But Oscar’s underwhelming debut doesn’t come as a surprise to some industry consultants, who observe that the firm’s technology- and customer-experience-driven business model may be a poor fit for an individual health insurance market where customers tend to flock to the lowest-premium plans.

And that scrutiny comes as another startup insurer — Medicare Advantage-focused Clover Health — released its first quarterly earnings results since it went public, all while trying to shake off the cloud of controversy stirred up by a critical short-seller report that caused its stock prices to plummet (HPW 2/12/21/ p. 1).

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Leslie Small

Leslie has been reporting and editing in various journalism roles for nearly a decade. Most recently, she was the senior editor of FierceHealthPayer, an e-newsletter covering the health insurance industry. A graduate of Penn State University, she previously served in editing roles at newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado.

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