Cigna and Oscar join forces in new small business health insurance venture

The new health insurance partnership between Cigna and Oscar will revolve around the integration of integrated medical, behavioral and pharmacy services. American health insurance giant Cigna has announced a partnership with more recent market entrant Oscar to provide commercial health coverage to small businesses.

The tie-up includes a reinsurance agreement in which both parties share equal risk for the products and services sold. The larger firm already serves the small business market, offering health insurance plans to companies with between 25-499 employees, but the Cigna + Oscar offering will integrate digital tools into the process, including telemedicine, an area Cigna has been investing in heavily.

Cigna vice president of product solutions Julie McCarter said: “Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy and through this partnership, we can take a disciplined approach to offering differentiated health care solutions that help small businesses save money, expand, network and product choice and keep employees healthy.”

According to Cigna, the small business sector accounted for 40% of US job creation in 2018, presenting a significant market opportunity for commercial health coverage provision.

Among the benefits announced in coverage designed by the two companies are integrated medical, behavioral and pharmacy services — an approach the larger insurer already pursues, supporting its validity with a 2019 study released earlier this month.

Oscar chief policy and strategy officer Joel Klein said: “Together, we are giving small business owners an affordable, simple-to-use option that makes it easier for their employees to get appropriate care quickly and stay healthy.

“Cigna + Oscar will give these business owners and their employees consumer-centric healthcare coverage and physician networks that provide personalised care.” The new venture is pending regulatory approval and plans to go live in “select markets” in 2020, with both companies expecting to expand the partnership in the future.