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How hCentive grew and is making a fortune out of Obamacare-CEO speaks

Sanjay Singh
My childhood during 1970's was in Delhi's Chandni Chowk area. Since those days I had a thirst for public policy and during my time at school I would go to the local library and read through editorial sections of all the newspapers.
After masters in engineering from IIT Kharagpur in 1989, I joined Wipro Systems in Bangalore as a systems engineer. In 1993, I shifted to the US to work on a global project for GE Healthcare that Wipro was handling. The environment in the US is very entrepreneurial friendly and very soon I started my first company. Internet was at its peak and the first company that I started was in the mobile wireless space. That failed and I moved on to form GlobalLogic in the year 2000 along with a few others. That company grew to have a headcount of 7000 people and had revenues of hundreds of million dollars when I left.
Letting go:
What does an entrepreneur look for when he starts a company? Is it public recognition, a financial outcome, or creating a brand name? With GlobalLogic we were able to achieve everything. It was one of the biggest transactions last year, and our exit did not mean the company shut down.
After being a part of GlobalLogic for 13 years, we were not a part of active management. Each of the founders had moved on and for us merely holding the stakes did not make sense. The company too needed to grow to the next level and it needed the resources to take that leap. If you want to be a billion dollar company down the road you need to have that muscle power.
It was not difficult to leave GlobalLogic and was a very happy outcome for all the founders and original investors. The company is thriving and under its new owners I am sure they will be even stronger.
While GlobalLogic was great the core desire to do something that you are passionate about was not getting fulfilled. The current challenge at GlobalLogic was in execution and expansion and I was not used to it.
Opportunity came when healthcare reforms were being debated in 2009 and President Barrack Obama had campaigned extensively a year earlier and talked of such reforms. I supported him during his campaign and was very involved in the debate. My previous company had been fairly successful and I realized if I wanted to do something big, this was the moment. I realized government would need technology solutions to implement parts of the law.
In good health:
US healthcare spend is at almost $2 trillion, which is as much as the GDP of India and that is actually the biggest challenge the country faces. The growth of healthcare spends has been enormous. Last year US collected $2.5 trillion in taxes and spent about $3.5 trillion. This means our fiscal deficit is around a trillion dollar each year and a majority of this is because of our health care spends. The debate in the US is about reining the deficit and that will only happen if the amount the country spends on healthcare is checked.
We read through the entire bill when it was going through the finance committee and it had the concept of healthcare exchanges, which is similar to marketplaces. The bill first focused on access where it mandated that everyone in the country must have health insurance. It stated that by January 1, 2014 if an individual does not have health insurance, there would be penalties to pay.
  Earlier about 40 million people did not have insurance but when they went to the hospital they could not be denied care. In the end people who did had insurance ended up footing the bill indirectly. To get rid of this anomaly it was decided that everyone buys an insurance cover. For the poor who could not afford, it was decided that government would provide subsidy. In 2009 it was clear to me that someone would have to create these exchanges, create the infrastructure needed to connect all the players in the huge market and educate people.

I along with the founding team of GlobalLogic that included Manoj Agarwala and Tarun Upadhyay moved out and started hCentive with the core focus of building and deploying such exchanges. We got lucky as the health care reform managed to pass through.
With the new law in place it would be important for insurance companies to showcase different plans for individuals to shop. We provide that connectivity solution between insurers and the exchanges. Since there was hardly any time before the law came into force, no one could have developed the technology on their own and there was nothing else available.


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