White House shines spotlight on health care tech companies

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it goes hand-in-hand with one of the most tedious deadlines of all — at least until April 15 (aka tax day) rolls around. December 15 marks the deadline to sign up for health coverage in order to be covered in 2016. And, seemingly recognizing that making sense of the complex health coverage landscape is about the least festive thing there is, the White House spoke up today with a dispatch about health care technology.

White House digital strategy director Joshua Miller took to the blog to discuss the record low of uninsured Americans, as well as highlighting few of the companies that are leveraging technology to help the uninsured get coverage. Some of those companies include ZocDoc, an online appointment-booking service that will be reminding its users to enroll for coverage and Oscar, a health insurance startup that made a PSA aimed at demystifying coverage.

“We know that many uninsured Americans question whether they can afford coverage, and may not realize that more than 7 in 10 HealthCare.gov customers can find insurance for $75 a month or less after tax credits,” said Miller in the White House blog post. “So for uninsured Americans who remain skeptical about the costs of getting insured, health insurance company Oscar Health has created a digital video public service announcement (PSA) that explains why health insurance is actually more affordable than people may think. Oscar will distribute this video in key markets online, too, including in California, New York, and Texas.”

On the receiving end of a hefty $32.5 million investment from Google back in September, Oscar is a health coverage startup that helps people choose coverage options with straightforward, plain-language plan comparisons. Leaning heavily on technology and simple design, Oscar helps customers keep track of care and connects them to providers in an attempt to improve upon the outdated systems that create separation between customers and coverage. 

“At Oscar, we are constantly pushing ourselves to find new and creative ways to engage consumers through the use of technology and provide members, as well as the uninsured in our communities, with the knowledge they need to get care, says Oscar CEO Mario Schlosser. “We are incredibly motivated by the support the White House has shown us today on this initiative and are proud to share this video we created on just how simple it is to sign up for an affordable plan through the ACA.”

The deadline, it creeps. But understanding the way coverage works in the age of the ACA is a big part of solving the uninsured problem, and the administration’s recognition of the vital role of technology in tackling some of our country’s biggest issues remains a pivotal thread in the tapestry of what Miller calls “today’s collective challenges.”

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