As part of this effort, I caught up with Gail Peace, a health-care entrepreneur who recently enrolled in coverage through the Marketplaces. Gail discussed what it’s like to be a healthcare geek, and how the ACA has helped her focus on making the healthcare industry even better.
Gail, who has over 20 years of experience in health-care-related professions, was consistently denied coverage on the individual insurance market because of preexisting conditions. Along with her husband, who is self-employed, Gail obtained COBRA coverage after the pair decided to start their own company. After an allotted period, their COBRA coverage expired, and for several months, Gail and her husband were forced to go without health insurance before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into effect and they were able to enroll.
Because of the opportunities available in the ACA marketplace, Gail and her husband were able to purchase a high quality plan and turn their attention to the task of growing their business.
Gail is President and CEO of Ludi Inc, a company that helps hospitals and health systems to coordinate business operations and manage physician activities with compliance requirements.
What does having affordable healthcare mean to you?
I believe healthcare should be available to all people. Under no circumstance should a health-related event bankrupt an individual or family. Period.
Why do you consider yourself a geek?
I started Ludi Inc., a software as a service company, in the summer of 2012. Our first product, was a technology that physicians use to track time worked on contacts in real-time. The contracts are typically administrative in nature, through which a hospital is pays a physician an hourly rate for work performed. We help organizations streamline the processing of and reporting on physician payments.
I had the idea to build this product in my former job as Vice President of Business Development for a four-hospital system in Chicago. Tracking these complex agreements was challenging, and if not done timely, created dissatisfaction amongst physicians. As physicians are referral sources to hospitals, care must be taken to make sure the contract is followed exactly to avoid compliance risks. The purpose is to help minimize compliance exposure using technology.
Has the Affordable Care Act or access to affordable, quality health insurance, enabled you to pursue new opportunities?
Yes! I embarked on building my company, Ludi, Inc., in the summer of 2012. My husband is also self-employed as a production artist. We were unable to purchase a health plan from any health insurer directly…we were denied. I think people in general believe denials happen due to serious conditions, but we are all just one doctor’s-visit from a diagnosis that can result in a denial. My husband and I did the math on my previous employer’s COBRA plan available for 18 months. While expensive, we determined we would only be without insurance for 90 days after COBRA ended and before the ACA went into effect. Because of the ACA, we have been able to purchase a high quality plan and focus on growing our existing businesses instead of focusing on finding a job elsewhere with benefits. We are each growing our respective businesses and creating jobs in the process.
What are some challenges you have had to overcome in your line of work?
In starting a new business, the biggest challenge has been staying the course through very long sales cycles. We were able to secure our first client as we built a new kind of software, but developing the software and setting up the business has been both expensive and risky. After 20 months of hard work, we’ve secured five customers and have a very full pipeline. We are living the dream!
What motivated you to share your story?
I wanted to share my story so that elected officials and my fellow citizens might realize this new Act has removed a significant barrier to many entrepreneurs who previously could not take the risk.
What advice do you have for other geeks?
If you have a business idea vetted through market research, do the hard work in starting your own business -- take the risk! Know that because of ACA, one barrier has been removed.