Health insurance start-up Oscar Health and Cleveland Clinic are teaming up on a new health plan, which will give Ohio residents on and off the state's Obamacare exchange access to one of the nation's top health systems.
For Oscar, the deal marks the first co-branded plan with a health system that goes beyond a network provider relationship.
"They are so far ahead… in moving themselves toward value and member orientation that we thought. There was a meeting of the minds there," said Mario Schlosser, Oscar's CEO.
For Cleveland Clinic, partnering with the insurer, which launched in the New York area in 2014, was a better option than starting its own health plan.
"There are a lot of core capabilities required to be successful in running an insurance company," said Kevin Sears, executive director of Cleveland Clinic market and network services. "It makes sense to try and collaborate instead of try and replicate capabilities."
The two plan to leverage Oscar's technology-focused plan management to attract young customers in Northeast Ohio, to provide the kind of integrated health care plan that has been the hallmark of providers like Kaiser Health System in California and the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania.
To try to recreate that model within the exchange market, which tends to attract sicker enrollees with high health costs, could be a challenge, ironically, because of Cleveland Clinic's reputation as one of the nation's premiere hospital systems.