Oscar Health, the tech-savvy insurance start-up that raised at a $2.7 billion valuation last February, recently launched the Oscar Facebook bot to quickly and easily provide consumers with quotes for health insurance.
The company was founded in 2012 by Josh Kushner, Mario Schlosser, and Kevin Nazemi who built Oscar on the premise that health care in the United States is broken and needs to change. They have been making an active effort to innovate on the healthcare experience and are expanding rapidly geographically from New York, California, and Texas.
According to Sara Rowghani, VP Marketing, “Getting a health insurance quote can be confusing, but could take the form of a natural dialogue. Since we were already exploring how messaging in our app can quickly connect members to Oscar’s Concierge Team and doctors, it seemed natural to expand this into getting a quote.” The Oscar Facebook bot on Messenger is only open during open enrollment to provide consumers with instant health insurance quotes. In the future, Oscar hopes to use the chatbot as an easy customer service tool, quickly telling members whether a doctor or office location is in or out of Oscar’s network. To imbue the chatbot with their brand voice, they are also including Easter Eggs “to make conversations more fun.”
Naturally, there are challenges with building a bot for healthcare. At the moment, the bot can only provide quotes for 1-2 people (single/spouse) and will direct other users to the website for the full service. Furthermore, sensitive dialogues involving Patient Health Information (PHI), which is governed by strict regulations, are not yet possible on the current chat bot. Should Oscar create a future bot in which patients can talk to doctors directly through Facebook Messenger, they would need to be aware of required data features and, most importantly, what is needed to keep that personal health information safe.
With Oscar Health’s chatbot, we are seeing a shift as informal platforms like Facebook Messenger start connecting users with important channels of everyday life such as healthcare.
Did you use the Oscar Facebook bot to make sense of your healthcare options? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!