When asked about Oscar Insurance’s ambitious full-stack health insurance business, NEA’s Ravi Viswanathan offered some words of caution.:
“[You] have to be practical in terms of what’s doable,” he said, speaking at CB Insights’ Future of Fintech Conference.
Building a full-stack system — i.e., providing health insurance, working with end users, and health providers — to take on a legacy industry (like healthcare) he said, requires tons of capital and a long timeframe. He admitted it was doable, though:
“You have to figure out insertion points,” he said, implying that not all parts of the health insurance system will be as easy to crack as others.
He followed with an example about companies moving to the cloud: many larger companies were slow to move their operations to the cloud. But once enough of them had done so, a tipping point was reached and a more mature ecosystem developed, making room for a robust market of cloud services. Likewise, some of Oscar’s innovations in healthcare may come to full fruition only with a healthcare system that embraces some of the changes Oscar is championing, such as moving away from a fee-for-service model.