While the topic of health insurance continues to roil politically, startup health tech companies are trying to find a solution to bring insurance to more Americans. One of those companies is the fast-growing Oscar, a New York City-based startup that offers consumer-focused, tech-driven healthcare. The company opened for business in 2012 before the Affordable Care Act’s major provisions took effect and has since grown to new markets.
Now, the company has seen growing interest from consumers and funders alike, and is looking to further set up shop in Arizona, offering a new option for those in the market for health insurance. Oscar will lease a 46,000 square foot space at The Circuit, part of an adaptive reuse project located near the 101 and 202 loops in east Tempe. After the expansion, Oscar will hold about 139,000 total square footage, which is enough room to bring in its projected 400 new employees by 2020.
The expanded space will be open to Oscar by summer of 2019, when batches of new employees begin to trickle in. Oscar has been operating in Tempe since 2016, when it made a partial expansion from its hub in New York City to offer its members a more tech-savvy option for health care coverage.
“Not only does the Oscar Health expansion create new job opportunities for our citizens, it offers the residents of Maricopa County a new option for health care coverage,” said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey in a statement. “Oscar, with its focus on providing innovative solutions to help improve lives and its commitment to building a strong workplace culture, is a company we’re proud to see grow here in Arizona.”
The core team at the health insurer’s Tempe location falls under the Concierge Team banner, which is relative to a member services team. Since health care is always a complex issue to break down, Oscar’s system sets up members with care guides and nurse practitioners who help them navigate the health care world and find the right plan that’s personalized to their needs and expectations.
Oscar is moving its operations west to open up in 14 additional metro markets by next year, including in Texas, Tennessee, Ohio, Florida and Michigan. Currently, Maricopa County residents can sign up for plans during Open Enrollment from now until December 15th.
The decision from Oscar to not only initially head to Tempe, but expand its presence and influence, was based on the greater area’s junction of member service and link to health care professionals. According to recent data, the state has around 245,000 employees in the health care industry in some capacity. This gives Oscar ease of access to an experienced local workforce, an industry that continues to see a steady rise in opportunities in the state. Plus, with closer links to nursing programs and other health care programs at the many Phoenix-based universities or university annexes, such as University of Arizona, Oscar is set to have its pick of the litter when it comes to just-graduated professionals.