Cigna + Oscar Partner For Small-Biz Insurance Solutions

The pandemic has pummeled America’s small businesses, leaving owners increasingly concerned about health coverage. A new partnership, Cigna + Oscar, hopes to sell companies on more affordable health insurance options.

In a study sponsored by the partnership, 66% of small-business owners say COVID-19 means they’re giving health coverage a higher priority in their budget. And 88% say solutions that support employee health -- including mental well-being -- are going to be more important in the future.

Still, companies are struggling, with 70% reporting declining sales and 52% saying they have laid off workers.

“We’re excited to be moving into these new markets and being able to offer flexible, affordable options to support small-business recovery,” says Chelsea Cooper, senior vice president of small group business at Oscar. “And it’s also encouraging to us that more than 50% say they are either considering switching carriers or unsure about their current choice.”

She tells D2C FYI the Cigna + Osca rollout to Atlanta, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Tennessee will have lots of Oscar’s signature D2C marketing appeal. Options are all designed to make healthcare easier, with access to free 24/7 virtual provider visits, $3 co-pays for common prescriptions, support for behavioral health, and access to Cigna’s provider networks.

Oscar earned its reputation as a D2C upstart with promises to make insurance easier, including 24/7 telemedicine and a concierge team that supports members in finding a doctor and navigating costs. 

Cooper believes those attributes will have major appeal for small businesses, “who want the right value and the right benefits. We think we’re going to be able to come into these markets with flexible options that are affordable, tele-rich and consumer-centric. And they don’t want to be treated as a number.”

The fourth-quarter introduction, still pending regulatory approval, will also have local variations, treating each market differently.

Cooper says the company hopes the upcoming marketing will bring “some traditional Oscar flair. But it will also speak to the determination of small business.”

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