Insurtech Bright Health stumbles amid fast growth

The Minneapolis-based insurer was fined $1M by the Colorado Department of Insurance for failing to complete basic health plan functions, including paying claims, communicating with members, and processing consumer payments. Bright claims its rapid growth, along with COVID-related challenges, contributed to its failures in the Colorado individual and family plan market, where it serves about 50,000 enrollees.

But there are also signs of other problems. After posting $1.2B in losses in 2021, Bright laid off five percent of its employees in March, and says it plans to exit the individual market in six states, which make up less than five percent of its revenue. Bright is instead focusing on integrating its provider arm, NeueHealth, into its insurance business in fast-growing markets like Texas, North Carolina, and Florida.  

The Gist: While Bright, along with other insurtechs, has garnered attention with promises of an enhanced customer experience and lower costs, its stumbles with basic health plan functions in Colorado may signal more systemic problems. This news could deter health systems and other providers from partnering with the insurer. 

After years of hype, most insurtechs still have minimal market share, and most have yet to turn a profit. Unless performance improves, it may not be long before Bright, Oscar, and others become acquisition targets for larger, more established players.

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