The health insurance industry innovator

This interview is part of LifeHealthPro's coverage of the 2016 InsureTech Connect conference

Sally Poblete, seen here, is CEO of the health care industry software solutions provider Wellthie. (Photo was provided by Sally Poblete.) Sally Poblete, seen here, is CEO of the health care industry software solutions provider Wellthie. (Photo was provided by Sally Poblete.)

(Las Vegas) — The 2016 InsureTech Connect conference happening now in Las Vegas is a veritable who's who of innovative CEOs within the insurance industry.

One such trailblazer is Sally Poblete, CEO of the health care industry software solutions provider Wellthie.

Poblete is no insurance industry novice. She's been part of the industry, in one role or another, for more than 20 years.

But that's nothing compared to the industry accolades and accomplishments racked up by Poblete, who earned her MBA in health care management from The Wharton School. Her company was named one of the Top 10 health care technology disruptors led by women (Forbes), one of the Top 40 health care transformers (Medical Marketing & Media), and one of 30 health care startups with potential to change the world (AlleyWatch).

Related: How to disrupt the high-tech disrupters

What follows are excerpts from an interview conducted with Poblete during InsureTech Connect about her company along with her hopes and predictions for the future of the insurance industry.

LifeHealthPro: What exactly is Wellthie?

Sally Poblete: It's the Zillow for health insurance. We're focused on helping small business owners find the best fitting health insurance for them and their employees. We plan for them with the help of their broker. We use algorithms to help make the experience modern. We currently serve larger insurance carriers and insurance brokers as well.

I spent 20 years in health care: Ten (years) at Anthem leading product development; I'm a licensed insurance broker; and I have also been a small business owner. After implementation of the ACA, I said the whole industry is going retail. And here I am.

We are a technology platform focused on the retailization of health insurance.

We have combined group and individual into one platform. That’s important because most of the small business employees are not getting insurance from their job. We are leveraging advanced algorithms. We are supporting the broker who has a large book of business employers. This helps them run their business in a much more modern and effective way.

Wellthie's website promises a "smart and simple e-commerce experience." The company finds software solutions for health insurance companies.

Wellthie's website promises a "smart and simple e-commerce experience." The company finds health insurance solutions for small businesses. (Photo: wellthie.com)

LHP: What do you see is the future of the health care industry?

Poblete: I’m really optimistic, especially when it comes to the role of the consumer coming to the forefront. The employer will help with funding, but will have less and less to say about the choices consumers make. The millennial and Gen X generations represent one-third of our workforce. It’s no longer a choice: They need to transact in a very fast way or they won’t engage. The other aspect is that insurance companies are finally realizing that it’s time for them to create simpler, better, more affordable products — it's time for them to change their past ways of doing business. They are currently threatened by new entrants coming in and getting a lot of funding.

Related: Obliging consumers, more insurers rolling out fee-based products

The bigger insurance companies are taking notice, and I’m incredibly optimistic we will play a role in the future of this industry — and overall in the industry.

My dream is that people will say, “Yeah I have insurance, this is what I bought and this is what I have and I understand it.”

Related: 20 most helpful state insurance websites

LHP: How can the insurance industry innovate, even more so than what we are currently seeing?

Poblete: I think the biggest and most important innovation we can bring to the industry is to make it simple. The complexity is the thing that is causing the least amount of trust and the most amount of frustration. It’s complex, paper-based, and I have to talk to five people to figure something out.

Those issues are at the core of why people don’t say, "Yeah, I’m going to get health insurance now!" We try to make the process that much better, through the way we designed our user experience and the way in which we said we need an expert to say thumbs up. Also in the way we aggregate data. We are, in that process, also making things happen faster. We eliminate steps and time and aggregate data so that we can cut through all of the various steps.

Related:

5 steps to building and sustaining a culture of innovation

Innovative thinking vs. innovation: key differences uncovered

 

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