Health Insurer Oscar is Going Public This Month, Here’s the Team That Made it Happen

Bessie LiuMeet the Team
Oscar Health

Oscar is a health insurance company on a mission to make a healthier life more affordable. Image Source: Oscar.

Oscar, the health insurance company on a mission to make a healthier life more affordable for all, has announced it filed a registration statement to become a public offering.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Allen & Company will be the lead managing book-runners for the initial public offerings and will be assessing the company's value and quantity of shares to be sold, the company said.

Oscar was founded by Mario Schlosser, Kevin Nazemi and Joshua Kushner in December 2012. The company is named after Joshua Kushner's great-grandfather, according to the SEC filing.

Oscar Health Org Chart

"When it came time to start our business, we wanted to let our members know that we were not a faceless health insurer whose logo lives on a card in their wallets," Kushner and Schlosser said in the filing. "So we chose a real name–of somebody whose life story inspires us–to say that we intend to serve them like a real-life human and not a disembodied corporation."

Since then, Oscar has grown exponentially, becoming the third-largest not-for-profit health insurance provider in the United States based on membership. They have customers using their health plan in 291 counties across 18 states, with an estimated 590,000 members and earned an annual revenue of $1.67B in 2020. Focused on building user-friendly software and telehealth partnerships, Oscar also became the first company in the country to launch free telemedicine for customers.

Meet the CEO of Oscar Health, Mario Schlosser

Mario Schlosser

Mario Schlosser is the CEO and co-founder of Oscar, a health-insurance start-up that is using technology, design, and data to help humanize and simplify healthcare. Image Source: Oscar Health.

Mario Schlosser graduated with a degree in computer science from the University of Hannover in Germany in 2012 with the highest distinction. After graduation, he worked full time as a concept engineering and marketing intern at German technology company, Infineon Technologies, based in Silicon Valley, according to Crain's New York Business.

In October 2002, Schlosser was offered a position at McKinsey & Co and worked as a Fellow Senior Associate for almost three years, before then leaving for Harvard Business School to obtain his MBA. It was at Harvard in 2005 where Schlosser first met Kushner, an undergraduate student studying government and political science at the time.

In 2006, when Schlosser was still working at hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, and Kushner was still a junior in college, the pair co-founded Vostu, a social gaming online company that later became the fourth-largest gaming company in the world. Schlosser left his position as Chief Scientist of Vostu in 2012 after employee morale had plummeted because of a copyright infringement lawsuit.

The inspiration for building Oscar came to Schlosser when his wife was pregnant with their first child while living in the United States. At the time, he struggled to navigate the complicated U.S. healthcare system.

"Having a baby is one of the only positive reasons to interact with the healthcare system, but our experience left us confused about our options and costs," he said in an interview with cedar. "There wasn't an easy way to interact digitally with providers. There was no good way to understand what the costs would be for a procedure. And, generally, the insurer didn't seem to be particularly pleasant to talk to."

From there, Schlosser was determined to build a health insurance company that was easy for customers to navigate. Oscar's core principles are also partially inspired by his hometown doctor in Germany, who would visit his patients after normal office hours every day. "Seeing patients in their homes let him head off small problems before they became big problems. Being under his care was, in fact, like having a doctor in the family," Schlosser said in the SEC Filing.

The Team That Helped Grow the Business

Shortly after the company was founded, Oscar Health hired Isaac Councill in August 2013, as Lead Manager for Data and Infrastructure Engineering. Councill, a Google Alumni with a PhD in Information Sciences and Technology, worked on multiple projects across the company. He implemented a medical search system and played a fundamental role in equipping backend operations with necessary technologies. Councill now serves as the Chief Technology Officer for Oscar.

Isaac Councill

Isaac Councill is an engineering leader, software developer, scientist, he is the Chief Technology Officer at Oscar. Image Source: Oscar Health.

At around the same time, Oscar also hired Michael Kopko and Sara Wajnberg as head of business development and head of product respectively. Kopko helped the company build its physician and medical network and Wajnberg led the development of a company-wide ticketing system. Kpopko now works under the Chief Financial Officer as the Vice President of Market Profit and Loss and Wajnberg serves as the Chief Product Officer.

Sara Wajnberg

Sara Wajnberg is the Chief Product Officer at Oscar. Image Source: Oscar Health.

Oscar launched its product at the same time as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014, which aimed to extend health insurance coverage to uninsured Americans. The ACA established a Marketplace where customers could compare healthcare options. Oscar used this opportunity to promote their healthcare plans to potential customers. Thanks to the ACA, Oscar secured 16,000 members in its first year of operations.

As the company continued to grow, it hired Kerry Van Voris as the Vice President of Talent Acquisition in 2016. Van Voris helped the company scale its team from 20 people into 55 in 2017. She managed employee performance and developed a talent strategy for the company. Van Voris is now the Chief People Officer at Oscar, overseeing talent acquisition, talent strategy and other human resource functions.

Kerry Van Voris

Kerry Van Voris is the Chief People Officer at Oscar. Image Source: Oscar Health.

In 2019, Oscar had plans for their biggest market expansion ever. They brought on three new executive members to the team - experienced financial officer, Sid Sankaran, operations specialist, Meghan Verena Joyce and marketing executive Ivan Wicksteed.

Handling the Pandemic and moving forward

When COVID-19 began spreading across the United States, Oscar was the first company to provide a nationwide testing location database. The company is now working to ensure all its members get immunized when they can, and plans to cover the vaccine at $0 co-pay wherever it is available. In January 2021, Oscar launched a $0 virtual primary care in 18 states and 47 markets.

Oscar’s leadership team has been fast-growing throughout the pandemic. The company hired Alessa Quane to be its Executive Vice President and Chief Insurance Officer, who will be responsible for overseeing management risks in her newly-created position. She will be reporting directly to the CEO and starts on March 1. Before joining Oscar, Quane worked as Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer at AIG.

Another new addition to the Oscar leadership team will be Sameer Amin, who joins as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer on March 15, 2021. Amin will be implementing Oscar's clinical capabilities, with multiple years of experience in the healthcare industry, he will focus on finding the most effective solutions for Oscar’s clients.

"Alessa and Sameer are joining Oscar at an exciting time as we continue to expand our footprint and product offerings, including the launch of Oscar's Virtual Primary Care in 2021," Schlosser said in a press release. "Their expertise will help us build upon the strength of our existing insurance and clinical experiences and further our ambition of making our members feel like having Oscar is like having a doctor in the family."

Oscar is also welcoming Richard Scott Blackley as its new Chief Financial Officer. Replacing Sid Sankaran, who will become Vice Chairman at Oscar upon Blackley’s arrival and will join Oscar’s board. Blackley will start on March 16, 2021. He previously served more than four years as the CFO of Capital One.

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