Gen Y Entrepreneurs Launch Oscar, a Consumer-Friendly Health Insurance Company in Bid to Disrupt Traditional Health Insurers

In New York City, innovative clinical laboratories have the opportunity to become a network provider for the region’s newest health insurance company

Three Generation Y entrepreneurs are ready to take on traditional health insurers with their own innovative health insurance company. They claim their novel start-up can better meet the new consumer expectations and behaviors within the insurance industry. If correct, their venture could disrupt the post-Obamacare insurance world.

Game-changing Health Insurance Company?

The Gen Y trio is made up of Josh Kushner, Kevin Namezi, and Mario Schlosser. They recently launched Oscar Health Insurance, based in New York. Kushner is the founder of the tech investment firm Thrive Capital. Kevin Nazemi, Oscar’s president, is a former director of healthcare for Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT). Mario Schlosser is a former McKinsey & Company computer scientist. (more…)

In Clinical Trials, Breath Test for Lung Cancer Shows Promise for Earlier Detection

Pathologists may do fewer lung biopsies should non-invasive breath testing technology make it into clinical practice

Here’s a medical laboratory test for diagnosing cancer that has the potential to score two runs with one swing of the bat. First, researchers have completed the first clinical trial of a non-invasive cancer test that utilizes a breath specimen.

Second, the subject of this clinical trial was lung cancer—a type of cancer that would benefit from a pathology test that can detect the disease much earlier. This would increase the survival rates for lung cancer, which currently has a five-year mortality rate of 90%.

As many pathologists and clinical laboratory managers know, it is possible to use breath specimens to diagnose a variety of diseases and health conditions. For almost 20 years, breath samples have been used to test for Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria which causes ulcers in the stomach.

Sony Makes Sizable Investments in Medical Devices and Clinical Pathology Laboratory Testing

Consumer electronics giant wants to create patient-friendly medical devices and diagnostic kits that will be used in point-of-care settings

Sony is laying groundwork for a major expansion into the world of medical devices, with a particular interest in medical laboratory testing and diagnostic test kits. Experts point to Sony’s new strategy as a sign that prospects in diagnostic testing remain incredibly strong.

Citing unnamed sources, the Israeli business daily Globes printed a story reporting that consumer electronics giant Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) is actively seeking to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Israeli medical technologies.

Confluence of Electronics and Medical Devices Heats Up Sector

This is a major strategy change for Sony and company officials state that Sony will rely less on consumer electronics as it shifts its focus to other sectors, particularly medical devices and clinical diagnostics, in an effort to revive earnings. This was reported in a story reported by Business Week.

Judging the UnitedHealth Decision to Drop Quest Diagnostics in Favor of LabCorp

There was plenty of reaction to last week’s news that UnitedHealth Group had awarded an exclusive, ten-year, national lab testing contract to Laboratory Corporation of America. That contract award excluded Quest Diagnostics Incorporated.

Across the laboratory industry, pathologists and lab directors are keenly interested to learn how this may affect the market for physicians’ office-based lab testing in their communities. Phones and e-mails have been flying into our offices with questions and comments. Two words describe the general reaction to this announcement: “total surprise.” That’s because laboratory professionals understand the range of challenges that UnitedHealth and LabCorp must overcome if this exclusive national lab testing contract is to prove successful.

Even the investment community was not certain how to understand this startling development- but pundits did seize the chance to engage in word play. At BusinessWeek online, the headline was “A Negative Result for Quest Diagnostics.” Over at The Motley Fool, the UnitedHealth contract award story was titled “Great Chemistry at LabCorp.”

However, the harshest criticism came from It has a regular feature named “The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week.” Listed at number four for last week was Quest Diagnostics Incorporated. noted that Quest Diagnostic’s CEO, Surya Mohapatra had told the financial community that, following one year of negotiations with UnitedHealth, it had suddenly “changed direction” and demanded the right to make an eight-year deal. The continued “‘If we had signed that contract,’ Mohapatra bristled, according to Dow Jones, ‘it would have been irresponsible not only for us as a company but for the whole industry.'” next observed rather dryly that “LabCorp investors are surely applauding that principled stand.”

It then rated the Quest Diagnostics situation thusly:

“Dumb-o-Meter score: 85. ‘Choosing a diagnostic lab with a focus on patients and quality makes a difference for your health,’ Mohapatra warns.”

It is not often that events in the laboratory industry catch the attention of Wall Street. It is even less common for a laboratory company to do something that earns it recognition on a list of “The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week.” Judging by the 18% drop in Quest Diagnostics’ share price that followed news of the UnitedHealth contract, it seems that a number of smart investors believe LabCorp made the smartest move in this round of the chess game.

At Dark Daily, we are of the opinion that the new UnitedHealth lab testing contract strategy will be long-term negative for the entire laboratory industry. If that proves true, then both Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp will have more to lose in coming years than any immediate gains as a result of this contracting strategy.