Allison Robbins: re-imagining healthcare.

Author:Haraldsen, Tom
Position:Around Utah: Spotlight

For years as she worked for both Intermountain Healthcare and HCA, Allison Robbins wondered why any large employer would be willing to accept the same medical insurance reimbursements on claims as a smaller one. After all, most large companies have very stringent purchasing guideline (as in the bottom line) for everything else they buy.

That gave her an idea, which led to the creation of Imagine Health, Inc., in 2008. Robbins utilized her experience in the industry with her expertise in provider contracting and negotiations to create a company that has helped reduce medical insurance costs for corporations and their employees.

"If these companies had come to me directly, I certainly would have contracted with them, probably at a rate more appropriate for the deals we'd strike," she says. "I knew that their purchasing power would be better, like it is for any other product they purchase. So when I made the decision to leave HCA and strike out in a new direction, I began working at home, out of my kitchen. I took a few consulting jobs to see how that would work out, and it blossomed into Imagine Health."

Back then, the concept was definitely leading edge. In many ways, it still is. Among her first clients was Toyota.

"They wanted to contract directly for their healthcare insurance," she recalls. "They didn't want to be like any other automaker. I was lucky enough to be the architect behind designing this network. It caught the attention of other large employers and insurance companies. It helped drive their thinking about how we might solve this healthcare cost issue."

Robbins says the concept of contracting for services was considered an innovation, but adds that some industries, such as the railroads, have been doing it for decades.

"It was just more rare, and not much thought of as the solution for large companies to help with...

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