In obamacare, tech entrepreneur envisions a new expedia - hCentive news


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In obamacare, tech entrepreneur envisions a new expedia - hCentive news

  1. 1. In Obamacare, tech entrepr t e reneur envis r sions a new Expedia Source: hCe entive Sanjay Singh, CEO hCentive  When th Affordable Care Act was being debated in Congress most Americans he t g n s, yawned if they even bothered reading the bill's fine print—but t e technology entreprene y eur Sanjay Singh's eye opened wide when he downloa S es w aded the pr roposed leg gislation. As he re the bill closely, one section of it drew Sin ead e ngh's attention. "It talk about ked individua state exc al changes. It talked abou a federall data hub," he said. ut " Now Sin ngh's techno ology comp pany hCent tive is reap ping a majo windfall— or —helping bu uild online health insura ance excha anges for se everal state enabling insurance companies to es, g e connect with all 51 governmen nt-run exch hanges, and moving to exploit the new but d o e potentially large pri ivate insura ance exchange market t. Singh sa the idea of insuran plans ba aid a nce attling in an online ma n arket for millions of custome sounded like "Expe ers d edia for hea care." alth "How do you build an Expedia for health care?" the CEO of hC o a Centive reca alled thinkin ng.
  2. 2. He knew it would re w equire a tec chnology pl latform, and since ope d ening in 200 with a 09 handful of employe ees, Reston Va.-based hCentive is on track to hire its 5 n, d k 500th work ker this year r. "The AC CA—Obama acare as it has becom known— me —has been the driving f force for ou ur inception and grow n wth," said Singh. "If I were to gues I would say we'd be at maybe 600 ss, e e [employees] by the end of 201 he said The comp e 14," d. pany expec to generate about $35 cts million in revenue next year. n n (Read more: Ignor m rance of Ob bamacare threatens its succes ss) When Singh spoke to CNBC, he and his employees were scra e s ambling to g a slew o get of work done before Oct. 1—the date when the Obam acare exch O n hanges are set to begin enrolling people in insurance plans that take effect iin January. g t "Right outside my door there is a reverse counting c d e clock," Sing said. gh A marrie 46-year-old with two kids, Sing had expe ed o gh erience wit a technol th logy-based start-up before foun nding hCen ntive. He co-fo ounded soft tware servic company GlobalL ces Logic in 19 "in my b 999 basement," Singh sa aid. Fourteen years late GlobalLo n er, ogic has mo than 7, 000 employ ore yees. (Read more: Obam m macare quirk: Your in nsurance c costs could go up) d
  3. 3. Santelli: The fight to defund Obamacare O CNBC's Ric Santelli talks with Daniel Ste ck ecich, TJM Instit tutional Services about the loo s, oming fight on C Capitol Hill to fun the nd Affordable Care Act. C In addition to his te backgro ech ound, Singh said he ha a "deep" interest in public policy h as " issues. "I just love it," Singh said. "I'm a public po m olicy geek. This is my fantasy foo otball." Those government g t-run exchanges, also known as m marketplace will give uninsured es, e d people a place to buy affordab compre b ble, ehensive he ealth insura ance from a range of competing plans. Many of those people would be elligible for ta credits to offset the cost M w ax o of the insurance, an would have their in nd ncomes ver rified via the federal da hub. e ata Singh sai the idea of building suc a platform was particularly attractiv to him bec id f ch ve cause the exchange were effec es ctively virgin territory. "You normally want to start a business in a new are he said. "It levels t playing field n ea," the for an en ntrepreneur going aga r ainst the big companie ... We go started b g es. ot because we e thought exchanges would be a big oppor s rtunity." (Read more: How businesses can prep m pare for the next San e ndy) Source: hCe entive Home pag ge for a state‐b based exchang ge. 
  4. 4. "Three, or four, five years from now, down the road, all the systems are going to look very differently from the way they did on day one." - Sanjay Singh, hCentive CEO In addition to helping implement the state-run exchanges in New York, Colorado and Kentucky, hCentive recently was awarded a contract to work with Illinois, which plans to run its own exchange in 2015 after letting the federal government operate the exchange there in 2014. And there is room for hCentive to expand its business of setting up government-run exchanges. That's because some of the 34 states whose exchanges are being run by, or in conjunction with the federal government may end up operating their own exchanges, and hiring companies like hCentive to implement them. "That's the next wave of business," Singh said. And after Obama was re-elected last year—effectively killing Republicans' hopes of repealing Obamacare—"demand just went through roof" from insurance companies who needed to connect online with the exchanges, Singh said. (Read more: Doctors confused, skeptical of Obamacare) "This year we signed 10 to 12 payers or insurance companies," he said. "As late as today, when were are [close to Oct.1] we are getting requests from payers to help them connect to state exchanges." The company is also being kept busy by the fact that the federal government has been routinely issuing regulations and updated guidance that relates to the exchanges even as the Oct. 1 deadline gets ever closer. Those announcements often require making changes to the technology and interfaces that Singh's company is implementing. "CMS changes things on an almost daily basis," he said, referring to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. "We literally spend hours every day listening to CMS conference calls."
  5. 5. Even as Singh and his company work to get set for the open-enrollment date, "we are already talking to states about implementing a 'phase two,' things we could not deliver by Oct. 1." "Three, or four, five years from now, down the road, all the systems are going to look very differently from the way they did on Day One," he said. Along with business related to the government-run exchanges, hCentive is expanding into the private exchange market. Those private exchanges give workers and individuals a broader range of insurance plans than might otherwise be available from traditional benefits plans offered by employers. For now, they are a tiny part of the overall U.S. insurance market, but analysts expect them to grow dramatically as employers try to hold down benefits costs. Singh said hCentive has positioned itself to take advantage of the private exchange market, "if these exchanges do take off." "One of our goals is that by 2017, 10 percent of the U.S. population at that time, when they access their health benefits, they will do so leveraging or touching our technology," he said. "Either they will be shopping on our platform, or we will enable that transaction."