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Raising the Bar for Employee Benefits with Ali Diab, CEO, Collective Health

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In this episode, Cowen’s Health Care Technology analyst Charles Rhyee speaks with Ali Diab, Co-Founder and CEO of Collective Health. They talk about how Collective Health creates a seamless and positive user experience for consumers, while helping employers manage their employee benefit plans. They also discuss the outlook for virtual care and ways that COVID-19 has changed how employers think about their benefit packages.

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Transcript

system. And joining me today to speak on the future of healthcare benefits is Ali Diab, co-founder and CEO of Collective Health. Ali founded Collective Health in 2013 to help consumers better understand, navigate and user health benefits and collective prides itself on delivering an unparalleled member experience while also allowing self-funded employers to administer plans, control costs, and take care of their people all in one place. Ali, thanks for joining us today.

Ali Diab:

Thank you for having me, Charles. It’s great to see you after such a long time.

Charles Rhyee:

Yeah, same here. So, I think for the benefit of our listeners, maybe talk about how you started Collective Health. I think you had a really great story here that led to you moving this direction.

Ali Diab:

Yeah. I mean, maybe even rewinding the tape before that. I mean, I’m a consumer product guy as you know, by background. And so I had actually no interest in healthcare in spite of being the son and sibling of physicians I care enough about the idiosyncrasies and complexities of healthcare [inaudible 00:01:51] veer very far away from them for most of my career. And then I think this is the case with a lot of founders. I actually got quite ill in early 2013 was hospitalized with an unforeseen and very serious illness that put me in the hospital for several weeks. I incurred a multi hundred thousand dollar hospital bill, came home very de-conditioned from that experience only to discover a few weeks after that, that my health insurance company had denied about half of my billed hospital charges for reasons that were completely indecipherable to me.

Ali Diab:

And the experience of trying to understand why that was the case and advocating for myself in this pretty labyrinthine US healthcare system is actually what drove me to want at the time, very naively to create a kinder, gentler health insurance company, is what I thought we would be building. Obviously that’s not what we ended up building as you know, but that was the Genesis for Collective Health. And if I could summarize it, Collective Health is an enterprise software and service company that enables self-insured employers to create and deliver employee health benefit plans with a lot better user experience for the members, the employees and their dependents. A lot better insight for the employers, the benefit leaders and finance leaders within an organization, and a lot greater flexibility to craft those plans, especially as healthcare goes through a period of what I think is unprecedented transformation, the proliferation of digital health programs, different kinds of network configurations and provider buyer or provider employer, healthcare delivery models, et cetera. We’re really trying to enable the future we say of healthcare.

Charles Rhyee:

Yeah. And before we move on, I think to your point, you’re talking about trying to navigate this labyrinthine system of ours. I would imagine that’s really why most consumers have poor experiences with their health plans. I mean, do you find that, that’s the major pushback why consumers have such a low opinion of their insurer generally?

Ali Diab:

Yeah. If you think about the heritage of health insurance companies in the United States, it’s not too different around the world, but it’s particularly the case of United States. They emerged, let’s call it a half a century ago, principally to protect against tail risk, right. To protect against what happened to me, for example, like a catastrophic event happening and then people being underfunded to protect themselves financially. If you look at what health insurance companies are being asked to do today is quite different. It’s really to do much more population health, individual, navigation, all these different kinds of care options, digital integration, large scale analytics.

Ali Diab:

So it’s a very different problem that they’re being asked to solve yet they’re using infrastructure, legacy infrastructure and technology from over a generation ago to try to do that. And I joke it’s like trying to emulate what you do on your iPhone or trying to emulate an electric car by using technology from 30 years ago. That wouldn’t work in any other industry. And it’s one of the reasons we’ve taken an enterprise technology approach to the problem, because we think it’s much more of a technology problem than people have historically thought it was.

Charles Rhyee:

Yeah. And I do want to get to that in a second, but I think you talked about how you are really trying to enable employers to really develop and deliver a robust set of benefits and navigate through all these kinds of options for them. Obviously we’re coming out of this period of COVID, I think one of the things too to think about is how would the expectations change them? Not only from what employers are demanding or wanting from their insurer, but also the consumers too, how has consumer’s expectations for what they would want to expect and demand from their insurer now?

Ali Diab:

Well, they are absolutely changing, I think to the first point of your question. I mean, as you know, in the United States, again, we have a very idiosyncratic healthcare system, but it is what it is. Employers cover more people, more Americans than Medicare and Medicaid combined. Employers cover almost 160 million Americans and provide the vast majority of health benefit and health insurance to those people. So they are the largest buyers of healthcare in this country. They like any other part of business and especially for healthcare, which typically for an American employer represents the second largest expense after payroll. What mechanisms to procure that health care with greater clarity, greater flexibility, greater understanding, and an ability to derive the greatest return on investment that they can like they do from any other part of their business.

Ali Diab:

And so as you know, as well as anyone better than anyone, employers have been as a result at the vanguard of blockchain innovation in healthcare, whether it’s Henry Kaiser and the Kaiser Permanente system that emerged from basically trying to provide care for shipyard workers more than 70 years ago to today where employers really are at the cutting edge of promoting and delivering all of these novel, almost direct to consumer type of healthcare products, whether it’s fertility or behavioral health or primary care driven or whatever onsite clinics, et cetera.

Ali Diab:

And so they are and have been demanding more from their health insurance company in terms of that kind of flexibility and configurability in their systems. And again, that’s why we have felt from the very beginning that it’s really hard again, to ask a combustion engine driven car company, to all of a sudden turn everything off and become an electric car company. It’s why companies like Tesla have emerged and been successful because they’re singularly focused on that problem. Similarly, I think for the provision of employee health care, you need an enterprise technology type company. If you think about any other part of the business, whether it’s HR with Workday or FP&A with NetSuite or managing your sales pipeline in CRM using tools like Salesforce and Zendesk, there’s a platform, there’s a tech driven approach and instrumentation to enable the employers and the companies more generally to do that well.

Ali Diab:

And that’s really the role that we play. That’s why we only serve self-insured employers. And we really view it as an enterprise technology type of a problem and user experience problem versus a health insurance problem because at the end of the day, if you’re a self-insured employer, you’re not asking the health insurance company to underwrite your risk, you’re doing it yourself with your own balance sheet. What you’re asking health insurance company to do is configure and amalgamate the health benefit experience across facets, not just medical, but dental, vision, pharmacy, point solutions, onsite care, near-site care in an understandable, streamlined, easy to access and use user experience for your people.

Charles Rhyee:

Yeah. And maybe let’s talk about that, this experience and you referred to it. I thought nicely is that it’s really a technology issue. So maybe talk about the technology in here. How is it that you are able to deliver this very seamless and positive user experience? Maybe talk about what the underlying technology enables you to do and how that compares with how traditional insurers are trying to deliver something similar.

Ali Diab:

Yeah. So I would say that it really does come down to the way that we’ve approached our technology and data infrastructure. If you think about providing a health benefit plan or administering health benefit plan, as people like to say, there are a number of functions that are required to do that correctly and to do it well and then to do it at scale. The first is just to understand, okay, what is the plan benefit? And to be able to instantiate that in code. So like, okay, I have a PPO 500 plan, what does that mean? When does my deductible kick in? What are my copays? What are my co-insurance? Those are a set of rules basically that ideally a software based machine would interpret and use to figure out, okay, Charles has met his deductible, I don’t need to ask him to actually pay for anything more out of pocket.

Ali Diab:

The plan will start to reimburse beyond this point for example. Similarly, you need to have systems and understand, well who’s covered at any given time for this benefit. People come on and off of employee payrolls and in complex type of employee environments. Those people may come on and off of those benefit plans, also with a high degree of frequency. They may be seasonal workers and maybe hourly, there may be other kinds of employee criteria that cost people to flip in and out of being covered. So again, the system needs to understand okay is this person covered? Is it accurate? Are they covered for now? Are they covered for the entire duration of their healthcare journey? There’s technology basically in data that needs to power that. And then you need a claim system that when you go to see someone for care, whether it’s a physical doctor or a virtual one doesn’t really matter, understands okay, how do I interpret what the provider has just build? The plan.

Ali Diab:

What does that person who’s covered on the plan owe? What does the plan need to pay? What’s the negotiated rate if there is one with that provider and then adjudicate that flawlessly and do that across billions of transactions and billions of dollars worth of care. Nowadays, in addition employers, again, due to the demands of a very tight labor market and increasingly discriminating employee basis have to also add a whole bunch of other accoutrement to their health benefit plans as you know. Many large employers have onsite clinics. They have dental clinics, lots of them offer obviously dental and vision and other kinds of insurance, pet insurance, even sometimes for their health benefit plan. And the systems that were designed to just simply insure against the catastrophic health insurance event 40 or 50 years ago were not architected to handle this evolution.

Ali Diab:

They weren’t architected to handle integrations with third-party systems to ingest data, to do large scale post-processing analytics. They were quite simple. And I would say quite brittle, regular expression based systems that just took a simple claim, adjudicated that claim, and then pushed out a piece of paper and a payment. That EOB that we see is like that… The state of the art, if you will, of the technology for most health insurance companies. And obviously the way healthcare is consumed access to paid for today is very different than it was 40 years ago. And therefore the tech stack that needs to underpin how all of that stuff has done, needs to be decidedly quite different as well.

Charles Rhyee:

If I remember when you guys first started, I think you guys didn’t actually do the… Or maybe you weren’t really planning to do the claims adjudication administration, right yet. You had this great software layer and the idea is that employers would take that and integrate it to their existing health plans. But in the end it seems like you realized you had to go full stack. Maybe talk a little bit about that because I thought that was a very interesting development for you guys.

Ali Diab:

Yeah. I mean, I think like any I’d say good technology startup, we tried to limit the scope and span of what we built to whatever was like the minimum required because obviously trying to administer a health insurance plan is a complex endeavor. And if you’re a few person startup, you try to do as little as you can and try to use open source and other third-party capabilities to fill up the rest of the gaps that you might have. But yeah, to your point, it quickly became apparent to us. One of the reasons why we didn’t become just a navigation type of a company, it quickly became apparent to us that in order to really serve customers well, and to fix the problems that I encountered as a health benefit plan or health insurance plan customer, it wasn’t enough.

Ali Diab:

And it wouldn’t work to just be a layer, even if you were “integrated” into a carrier system you’d never have the real time and unfettered access to the kind of data that you needed to serve customers well, and I tell people we became a planet administrator and built our own claims processing system for exactly the same reasons that Jeff and the team at Amazon decided to be a bookstore and decided to sell stuff because that’s how you get unadulterated access to the kind of data that you need to serve your customers.

Ali Diab:

Well, if you think about what Amazon does incredibly well, other than deliver, allow you to buy and deliver packages to your front doorstep reliably, hundreds of millions of times a day, across hundreds of millions or billions of people, they also, as a result of all that transactional data, have a very good understanding and can predict now when you might run out of something or when you might need something else.

Ali Diab:

Healthcare is a very analogous problem. And most of us don’t know that we’re going to account a healthcare issue, even if we have a chronic illness until we encounter it, even though there are very well-worn and clinical patterns that an intelligence machine learning based system could actually forecast. And it’s one of the reasons why we’ve built our own risk models and have our own recommendation engine, if you all know that reaches out to people before they go over the proverbial healthcare cliff. And we wouldn’t be able to do any of that if we didn’t transact claims and process payments and do all of the nitty gritty, unglamorous stuff under the hood, just like being a bookstore wasn’t super glamorous until you made it so, right?

Charles Rhyee:

Yeah. And then a little bit ago, right? You mentioned the discriminating consumer now demanding more and employers wanting to provide that. Since the pandemic, right? We’ve definitely heard a proliferation of point solutions in the market, particularly in the digital health space. And employers are really inundated with requests to inform people to try to pilot them with these employers, maybe talk about the value that you can bring to employers and how you help them manage through all these different potential solutions available to them.

Ali Diab:

Yeah, I’d say the principle value that we provide to employers as they consider these proliferating options that are in front of them digital and otherwise is a chassis, a software based system, a chassis like an iPhone, like an operating system or an app store to plug and play different options on a timeframe and with the ability to analyze and understand the effectiveness of those options that you just can’t get from a traditional health insurance company. And I tell people these point solutions are emerging because the heavily intermediary dominated US health insurance landscape or healthcare landscape is not able to respond as athletically as is required to the way that care is evolving in our country which is increasingly delivered at the home or to the customer in their pocket on a device and there’s a proliferation of them.

Ali Diab:

And so just like app stores came along on devices like the iPhone to help make sense of the proliferation of apps, an enterprise software platform like ours needed to emerge, I believe to enable employer buyers to make sense of all those apps that they’re being asked to consider, whether it’s a fertility app, family planning app or women’s health care app, primary care app, an onsite app or clinic, a center of excellence. I mean, there’s thousands of them now. And so you need a capability to be able to say, okay, I want to try this. And if it doesn’t work, I want to be able to rip it out easily without a lot of disturbance to my overall health benefit plan experience for my people. And that’s a huge part of the value proposition of Collective Health.

Charles Rhyee:

Yeah. I think for a while, a lot of, particularly the largest US employers they’re probably very well used to going out and vetting these solutions themselves and building it together into an offering for their employees. Are you seeing a shift even at the larger employer… Because I can clearly see midsize, smaller employers don’t have the bandwidth or the capabilities to do that in-house and would look to someone like you to really help manage that. I’m curious whether you’re starting to see that even at the larger, the big fortune 500 companies saying is this really the best use of our time, we can rely on partners such as Collective.

Ali Diab:

Yeah, we absolutely are. I mean, I use the maybe bad analog of Gmail, right? Or hosted mail, generally speaking. Gmail emerged, no self-respecting fortune 500 company was going to run their entire enterprise mail capability on the Gmail cloud. And now fast forward almost 20 years, what 17 years after Gmail launched. And literally everyone is running on something like that, whether it’s Gmail or whether it’s Microsoft hosted mail and no one has an email server and a mail closet in their corporate office. And I think this is no different. I mean, we like Gmail started with the smaller and mid-sized employer and have been moving up the employer size scale as we get larger, as we have more proof points to show those jumbo employers that, Hey, it’s not actually a really good use of your time or money to do this just for your own people.

Ali Diab:

I mean, you can hire an army of defense contractors, if you will, to do it for you, but it’s probably money better spent, and time better spent using a platform like Collective Health to do it. And again, I think all great enterprise software platforms have that Genesis, whether it’s Salesforce, whether it’s Workday, they start with the small to midsize. They prove out their worth. And then the larger companies follow. And it makes sense because the procurement cycle and the risk involved, if you’re a jumbo employer is significantly greater.

Charles Rhyee:

So, Ali that space that you guys are operating in, if we want to call it disruptive new models for benefits, it’s been pretty active over the last several years. And I think investors are familiar with some companies such as Oscar Health that went public this year and Accolade a couple of years ago, you can toss in Clover into that as well. For that person listening in, and maybe not as familiar with Collective Health, how would you describe the company fitting into that landscape and maybe what in your mind differentiates you from those other companies?

Ali Diab:

I mean, it’s a good question. So, Oscar was started, I think the year before we were in 2012. Accolade, I think was started in 2008. So it’s been around about twice as long as we have. I think when we started Collective Health, we felt like we wanted to operate in the employer market because that was true to the origin story of why I wanted to do something. I was on self-insured employer covered plan at the time. And it was very true to the mission if you were to focus on something that enabled employers to provide health benefit plans better to people because that was the experience that I had. And in, so doing, we made a very conscious decision not to be an insurance company. I did not want to spend valuable venture capital on reserves and underwriting medical risk.

Ali Diab:

I just didn’t think that was a very prudent use of early stage venture capital at all whether or not that was the smart decision or not, given the fact that it looks like investors seem to not feel like there’s much of a difference in terms of what multiples should be for a technology company versus an insurance company in this space. That was the decision that we’ve made. And so that I think is what makes us quite different from, I’d say the Clover and the Oscars of the world, which are at the end of the day, they’re insurance providers, they underwrite risk and they provide largely individual and Medicare advantage plans. They’re not in the employer. At least they’re not the enterprise employer segment like we are. On the other end with respect to like the Accolades or the Quantums is they also emerged at a time very much I’d say it’s like a call center driven type of approach to helping provide what I would call insulation for a very bad health plan experience.

Ali Diab:

And as they’ve emerged further providing navigation services to people who have quite complex care needs and we fulfill some aspects or some facets of what an Accolade or Quantum would do, but we are also the plan at the end of the day, because just going back to my own experience, the employer plan that I was on, had a very nice concierge, if you will, that I could call. But at the end of the day, whenever I had to have something serious addressed, I had to inevitably talk to the carrier that sat behind them. And I always felt like, why can’t the carrier actually do all this stuff?

Ali Diab:

And so being a technology company, we are the carrier for our enterprise self-funded customers. And so from my perspective, I felt like the plan itself should offer that world-class level of service and that world-class level of navigation. And that should be intrinsic to administering a plan, just like providing great customer service is intrinsic to selling stuff or being retailer and Amazon or other great retailers case. You shouldn’t have to have like a concierge set in front of Amazon to make that Amazon experience great. Amazon should make the experience great.

Charles Rhyee:

Right. And it sounds in that case, right to really create that end to end solution for your employers to really be able to depend on you for the whole suite of capabilities for the employees, right?

Ali Diab:

Yeah. And truly, really be that cockpit or I don’t like using the word front door because I think healthcare will always have multiple front doors. My primary care physician is always going to be at front door. For me I’m going to call them if I have a clinical issue before I ever call any insurance company, no matter how good or navigation company no matter how good. That being said, we are that place that makes us… Because we are the source of reimbursement for a plan where plan members naturally go to understand what’s covered to access their various options, not just medical, but like I said, dental, vision, pharmacy, point solutions, onsite clinic.

Ali Diab:

Collective Health is designed to bring all of that stuff together in one place and then provide the reimbursement for whatever care it is that you end up seeking. So yeah, it’s end to end in that sense. However, as I said earlier, we’re not an insurance company and that was a very conscious decision because we felt like that would be a completely different problem to solve, trying to underwrite and understand the risk. We do that. We forecast risk, we forecast payments. We pay all of the claims from our customers, but we don’t put our balance sheet and our own capital at risk.

Charles Rhyee:

Right. And as you mentioned earlier, right, you’re sitting at this nexus and you’re collecting all this data, maybe talk about that and how you are leveraging that. You made some examples a little bit earlier about being able to predict actions and things like that, but maybe talk a little bit more about that.

Ali Diab:

Yeah. So we use the data in a number of different ways. I’d say principally in two ways. The first is to understand the overall health of a population and how it’s trending again to the prior point that I was making in order to help employers, employer plan sponsors, understand and forecast their health cost exposure and various disease prevalence in their populations so that they can procure specific or tailored solutions for that population. If you think about it, no two employer populations are the same, even within an industry category and obviously across categories that are quite different, the kinds of people and the health characteristics of a company in the agriculture business, for example, is going to be quite different than a company in the financial services or the entertainment business, right? Or technology business. They’re quite different. And so a principle part of what we do from a data analysis standpoint is helping those organizations understand, okay, well, what does my population look like and what do they need?

Ali Diab:

And then to enable them to actually put in place what they might need on the individual side of things we use claims and a lot of other data to help understand whether or not a member has a high risk to their own health. And then if that is the case to basically intervene and help them, obviously in a gentle, tailored, highly secure manner, to suggest that they do something about their health before they encounter a catastrophic event. And so I tell people, actually, this is my provnence. I mean, I built large-scale ad systems at Yahoo and then AdMob Google after. And it’s a very similar endeavor. You observe what people buy, you observe what they do. And then you build up basically a profile of that person. And then you serve them individualized messages or ads suggesting things for them to buy or to do.

Ali Diab:

Next is the same thing I observed at someone who was of a certain age has missed their colonoscopy or missed their A1C screening, if they’re a diabetic or missed their mammogram, if they’re a woman. And according to certain characteristics as beyond the acceptable envelope of risk, we will intervene and tell them through ad units, basically that, Hey, it’s a good time to go and get your mammogram and here’s why. Or hey, it’s a really good time to go get your colonoscopy and here’s why. And it’s really a large-scale ad system at the end of the day.

Charles Rhyee:

And what’s interesting here is that maybe talk about the engagement then you do get from members, right? Because, I think at the beginning we just talked about how people typically don’t have a good experience with their health insurer. So, often if you get that message, that’s not really the phone call you really want to answer, or the email that you really pay attention to. Talk about how you’ve been able to overcome that.

Ali Diab:

Well that issue is an interesting one because I think what you’re really speaking to is the fact that there’s a low level of trust among the American consumer when it comes to health insurance companies. If you just look at the average NPS scores of the major insurance companies, that probably speaks volumes as to why that’s the case. I think there just as a sense that the customer isn’t really that important in most of the health insurance company’s eyes. And so I tell people the reason I trust Amazon to give me a recommendation is not because I inherently trust Amazon it’s because they do everything else reliably and well. They’ll refund me my money if I don’t like something, they’ll take a return back without any hassle. They make sure to deliver the package when they say they’re going to deliver it. So they do the basics of being a retailer really, really well.

Ali Diab:

I do it consistently over and over and over again and at scale. And so that gives them… They’ve basically earned my trust at that point to do more sophisticated things with my data, like, be like, hey, I noticed that you like these things, have you thought about maybe buying this thing over here? Or hey, can I sign you up for a subscription? Because it looks like you run out of toothpaste on this day, every month or every X weeks. And it’s actually cheaper for you if you just subscribed because we can apply a volume discount to your purchasing. That’s what we do basically in terms of earning our members trust, we do the basics of administering a health insurance plan really, really, really well. And that’s what I think reflected in our net promoter score, I believe is over 80 right now, across a very large population.

Ali Diab:

And that then gives us, I think the level of trust with our membership. So that when we do say, hey Ali, we noticed that you missed your colonoscopy. You know that over the age of 45, you should get a colonoscopy every five years. Here’s why it reduces your risk of colon cancer by X percent. I’m much more prone to saying, oh thank you. Yeah, because you do all the other basic stuff really well, I’m going to take your recommendation versus if I screw up your claims or I don’t pay things correctly, or I send you communications that are confusing just about the basic stuff, you’ll tune me out.

Charles Rhyee:

Yeah. And it emerges those basics really brought a lot of your clients to you.

Ali Diab:

Yeah. It keeps… Right. That’s the key. And that’s why we have a mantra internally at Collective Health, which is be brilliant at the basics because the basics really do matter. I think a lot of people want to get fanciful in healthcare, but you need to walk before you run.

Charles Rhyee:

Well, for disclosure, Cowen we are clients of Collective Health. And I know that I was calling once about my dental benefits and the person said, oh, let me look into that. And I think I got a call back in five minutes and I was stunned and I was very appreciative, but I think to your point is the low bar that I think most people typically had for an insurer, but that would be the basics. Just someone has a question you say, you’re going to get back and you do. And it was a fantastic experience, but speaking of growth and opportunities, you guys recently signed a partnership with HCSC, obviously a very marquee client to get on board. Maybe talk a little bit about that and what kind of the collaboration that you think you’ll be bringing and what you hope to be able to deliver.

Ali Diab:

Yeah, I’m very excited obviously about the HCSC partnership for a number of reasons. I think as you know, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Associations have been natural partners and allies of ours from the very beginning, our first payer partner was Blue Shield of California. And they remain our leading payer partner to this day. And obviously we’re very grateful for their partnership and for their collaboration over the years. And I think that’s in significant part because of their heritage. Many of them are also not-for-profit organizations, in HCSCs case, they’re actually community or member owned. And so they tend to have less of a nakedly profit seeking objective as a health insurance company. And as a result, I think they view a technology enabler like us with less competitive spirit than maybe a traditional national carrier whether it is more of a for-profit type of entity might.

Ali Diab:

And so that’s one of the reasons why just historically, we’ve had a lot of success with Blue Cross and Blue Shield Associations across the country. And I think hopefully that will continue. I think what’s interesting about the HCSC partnership is I think it represents an evolution of what those partnerships look like. Historically the partnerships with our payer partners have been the payer provides if you will, the network and some other capabilities, but largely the network and network access. And then we provide the administrative and customer service and platform, data platform, integration platform capabilities, and we’ve gone to market jointly, but really effectively selling two products at once. And with HCSC, the partnership actually has them effectively selling Collective Health with their brand on it. So it was like HCSC powered by or presented by or provided by Collective Health.

Ali Diab:

And they are the principal go to market channel. And so, I tell people, and I may have even told you this at one point, I would love nothing more than, as a result of all this effort over the years for us to actually move the health insurance industry to adopt the practices that we have at Collective Health, even if it’s not our brand that’s front and center. And I think what’s great about this HCSC partnership is just that it’s like that intel inside moment for Collective Health, where the biggest, most important, most established incumbents in the health insurance space start to recognize that yeah, we should probably run on this infrastructure versus trying to do it ourselves and goes back to the Gmail analogy. It’s like at some point, the biggest employers start to realize I don’t need that mail closet anymore. I don’t know why I’m hiring people just to manage my mail server. I’ll just hand it over to a cloud-based or hosted mail service.

Charles Rhyee:

Yeah, now that makes a lot of sense. Maybe to close out here, what’s next for Collective Health? What should we be? Obviously you signed this partnership earlier this year. I know you closed a funding round as well. Congrats on that. What should investors be looking out for? Anything exciting to keep…

Ali Diab:

I mean, I think you know. You’ve known us for almost all the years that we’ve been in existence. You were one of the first people that we talked to. I think more of the same. I mean, we’ve stuck to our knitting. People have tried to cajole us to become everything from a health insurance broker on one end to a broad employer benefits administration platform on the other two and risk bearing insurance company on the other end. They’re all attractive in their own certain way, but that’s not who we are. We are an enterprise technology and service platform for self-insured employers, and we want to be as big and as successful as we can be doing that. And obviously there’s plenty of fish to fry just doing that. So I think you should just expect us hopefully to acquire more customers, hopefully keep all of the ones that we already do have, and just continue to build on our capabilities, whether it’s from a user experience standpoint, clinical support standpoint, reporting and analytics, integration standpoint, adding more networks, adding more partners onto the platform.

Charles Rhyee:

That’s great. Well, we look forward to hearing more from Collective and we’ll keep an eye out for all the progress you’re going to make and look forward to catching up with you again on a future podcast.

Ali Diab:

Likewise, thank you again for having me today. It was great to see you.

Charles Rhyee:

Very good to see you too.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for joining us. Stay tuned for the next episode of Cowen Insights.


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