Vator Splash Health: Collective Health CEO Ali Diab to speak

Steven Loeb · February 22, 2016 · Short URL:

Collective Health is trying to upend the insurance market, making it transparent and easy to use

Tomorrow, February 23rd, Vator will be holding its second annual Splash Health event at the Kaiser Center in Oakland. Speakers will include Vijay Pande, who runs Andreessen Horowitz's $200 million healthtech fund; Helmy Eltoukhy, Founder & CEO of Guardant Health; and Ted Tanner, Co-founder & CTO of PokitDok. (Get your tickets here!)

One of the keynote speakers we will be happy to welcome is Ali Diab, CEO of Collective Health, a health insurance solution. He will be interviewed by Ezra Roizen, Managing Director of Vator Investment Club.

If there's one thing just about anyone can tell you about our healthcare system its that, first, it's too expensive, and two, it's way too complex. The Affordable Care Act tried to fix some of these problems, and while it succeeded in certain ways, such as giving many people insurance who never had it before, it has also resulted in higher premiums.

It's an imperfect piece of legislation that should be fixed, but the government is too broken to get anything done now. So instead it is the private sector that is coming up with solutions. 

Collective Health says it offers a "complete employer sponsored health insurance platform," one which will replace the "complex, process driven world of health benefits with one product that simplifies and improves every aspect of how companies take care of their people."

The company looks to replace the current health insurance model, and allow employers to enroll their employees in health plans, via an online platform, which conform to their needs, and which are easier to understand than traditional healthcare plans. 

"Collective Health is a complete health insurance solution that brings together the best medical, pharmacy, dental and vision networks, your health benefits programs, an intuitive self-funding platform, proactive business intelligence and a premium member experience. All in one product. The impact? Benefits that you are proud to give your people and control over what matters to your company."

Collective Health does not replace health insurance but rather empowers employers to create health benefits that truly meet the needs of their people. It partners with employers to design and administer a set of health plans that allow employees to choose the best plan for their needs, to have a clear understanding of their benefits across medical, dental and vision, to access their health and claims information online and through a mobile app, and to have a premium, high-touch member service.

Employers work with Collective Health to design health plans that meet the needs of their populations by bringing together the best medical, dental, pharmacy and vision networks, in addition to other health benefit programs the employer has in place for their employees.

Most importantly, Collective Health makes health insurance easier to understand.

"There is nothing more frustrating to us than confusing health plan jargon. So we took it out, completely. We use simple language, and our dedicated team members are standing by to answer your questions when they come up. So your people feel valued, and you feel confident about what you’ve built. After all, your people deserve to have the best benefits experience possible," the company says on its website. 

Collective Health was founded in 2013, after Diab fell ill with a life threatening illness. It was painful he wrote in a blog post, but dealing with his insurance company made it even worse.

"In addition to dealing with a difficult recovery, I faced the agony of battling with a health insurer that did not want to pay my massive hospital and surgical bill. My insurer claimed some of my surgical and hospital charges were experimental or the result of physician error, leaving me holding the bag for a shockingly large portion of the bill," he said.

He called his friend Rajaie Batniji, a physician, to ask for advice. Together they decided to take on the existing insurance space and create a solution that actually worked.

"After several long bike rides and early morning coffees before his rounds at Stanford Hospital, Rajaie and I decided to dedicate ourselves to fixing how Americans pay for health care. As we began our journey, we discovered how much we needed to learn to deliver on our vision of a transparent health care system. At the same time, we intentionally chose to neglect the status quo and to ask questions that people from within the industry don’t seem to want to ask."

That included why things had become so expensive, why nobody was using software to fix this problem and "Why do we receive something in the mail after seeing the doctor that looks like a bill, but says 'THIS IS NOT A BILL' at the top?" (I've asked myself that last one many, many, many times)

The mission of Collective Health is to create an insurance system that is more transparent, less costly and just overall easier to use.

Prior to co-founding Collective Health, Diab was VP of product management and business operations at mobile advertising company AdMob. He also held executive and management positions at Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, and Yahoo. Daiab is a graduate of Stanford and Oxford universities.

Collective Health has $119 million in venture capital from NEA, Founders Fund, Maverick Capital, Redpoint Ventures and RRE Ventures.

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