Data-driven health insurer Oscar plans ACA marketplace expansion

(Bloomberg) -- Oscar Insurance Corp. plans to begin selling health plans on the Obamacare marketplace in Tennessee in 2018 and expand its offerings in other states where it’s already operating.

The closely held insurer will expand into new areas of Texas and California, according to a blog post Wednesday by Mario Schlosser, the chief executive officer. The company will also return to the New Jersey market that it earlier dropped.

Insurers that will participate in the health program in some states are expected to send their proposed rates Wednesday, a deadline that was postponed several weeks by the Trump administration to give companies more time. Oscar said it’s filing to expand into the Austin market in Texas, and is seeking approval to sell individual and small business plans in east Los Angeles County in 2018.

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Signage is displayed on a glass door inside the Oscar Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. The Oscar Center runs in partnership with Mount Sinai Health Systems providing primary care services and health and wellness programs. Photographer: Kholood Eid/Bloomberg

Oscar, which said last week that it will also enter the Ohio marketplace, is one of a few insurers swimming against the tide as larger companies, including Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc., are fleeing Obamacare’s individual marketplaces after suffering losses. Centene Corp. also said last week that it would enter Obamacare markets in Kansas, Missouri and Nevada while expanding in six other states where it already sells plans.

Republicans in Congress are devising legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, sometimes called Obamacare, while President Donald Trump has threatened to withhold funds that defray costs for low-income people buying plans through the program. Insurers have cited doubts about the future of the program as they leave markets and raise rates.

“Why seek to expand in a time of uncertainty?” Schlosser said in his post. “We’re confident that when the dust settles, the market for health insurance will stabilize in time for 2018.”