Insurance startup Oscar pays members for using Misfit Flash activity trackers

By Jonah Comstock
06:20 am
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20141023_Flash_OscarNew York-based health insurer startup Oscar Health is teaming up with Misfit Wearables to get more of its 16,000 members moving. As part of the deal, each Oscar member will get a free Misfit Flash tracker and the opportunity to earn up to $20 a month in Amazon.com credit by meeting step goals.

The partnership means Misfit gets exposure for its newest wearable on a few thousand New York wrists, while Oscar hopefully lowers the healthcare costs of its members and continue to differentiate itself as an innovative player in the insurance market.

The two companies will integrate their mobile apps as well. Oscar members will be able to see the step and activity data from the Misfit Flash on Misfit's app, but will have to transmit that data to Oscar's mobile app in order to get paid. Members will earn one dollar per day that they meet their personalized fitness goals for a maximum of $20 per month. 

oscar_ios2It's not unusual for a health insurer to introduce a wellness incentive program based on wearable activity tracking -- programs like Humana Vitality have been around for a number of years. But buying devices for every one of its members is something Oscar can do more easily than its larger competitors, because it has comparatively few members (and $150 million in the bank).

More to the point, Oscar might be uniquely positioned for an endeavor like this because of the startup's tight focus on positive user experience and sticky consumer engagement. At a recent Boston event, Oscar co-founder Kevin Nazemi made a point of sharing some numbers along those lines.

"If you took the list of the feature set we have and you put it against a major carrier, they checked a lot of the boxes, to be fair,” he said. “But then ask them what percent of the people visit your website or use those tools. And I can tell you proudly that over 90 percent of our members have a log-in. Over 70 percent have filled out a detailed health risk assessment. Because we didn’t frame it that way. We framed it around making the user experience customized, the way Facebook would.”

The Misfit Flash, a less expensive, plastic iteration of the Misfit Shine, debuted in September and like the Shine operates on a coin cell battery and does not require charging. It automatically tracks steps, calories burned, distance, sleep quality and duration, cycling, and swimming. It can be worn in a number of ways: around the wrist or clipped to pants, a shirt, shoes, a lapel, or attached to a keychain.