Many in the health care industry believe that wearable devices can keep patients more engaged with their caregivers, and more mindful of their health in general.
The tech-focused health insurance startup Oscar is now ready to put some money behind that belief. The New York-based insurer says it will provide its members with Misfit fitness trackers and give them breaks on their premiums for healthy behavior patterns recorded on their wrists.
“The more steps they take, the more money Oscar will give,” the company says in a release.
Using the Misfit device, Oscar members will track their own health and transmit the biometric information to their medical timelines on Oscar’s mobile app.
Cofounded by venture capitalist Joshua Kushner, Oscar closed a $30 million funding round early this year, bringing its funding total up to $75 million.
A key part of Oscar’s marketing pitch is that technology will make it easier to connect with health care providers. The insurer’s site features an online search function that directs patients toward appropriate doctors after they type in their symptoms using natural language. Patients can also screen doctors to make sure they’re in the network prior to booking an appointment.
Oscar guarantees that a physician will return patient phone calls within 25 minutes — and it provides a handful of calls for free. It also offers free generic drugs and a number of free primary care appointments.
The insurer has some top-shelf investors behind it. They include Founders Fund (the venture capital firm cofounded by Peter Thiel), Thrive Capital, Khosla Ventures and General Catalyst Partners.