Thought Leadership

Lessons From Our Leaders: Reflecting on Our Origins, Present Day, and Future State

Poppins Health has been built from the ground up by three incredible leaders, all passionate about making a difference in healthcare. From their varied experiences in healthcare information technology, at large insurers and health systems, and in financial services, they have seen firsthand the utterly complex world that brings together patients and providers in the United States. 

Poppins Health’s founders Brodie Stone (Chief Revenue Officer), Olivia Cameron (Chief Product Officer), and Ross Klosterman (Chief Executive Officer) started the company to transform how individuals navigate the healthcare system and create trusted relationships between patients and providers.  

We learn more about the motivations and thoughts of our three founders in this new series, “Lessons From Our Leaders.”

Ross Klosterman 

I had a great childhood – loving parents, good friends, and a wonderful community. I grew up in rural western Ohio in the most productive farming county in the state. My mom was a guiding light – and my town’s favorite hairdresser. Everyone seemed to know her and came to her to share details – good and bad – about their lives.

This is not to say there weren’t difficult times. My parents divorced when I was a teenager, and a month before her COBRA expired she was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. She was lucky, in a way, that insurance did cover her treatment, and she’s now been cancer free for over a decade. This was pre-ACA, so after her treatment she was uninsurable. Aside from herself, she also couldn’t afford to offer health benefits to her employees.  

My mom is inspiring, but her ordeal also highlights a sad state of affairs in this country – one in which she was close to being financially ruined had she been diagnosed a month later.

Nearly 50 million people access health benefits through their small business employer (<100 employees) or by being self-employed. These Americans deserve a great health benefits experience at an affordable price. No person should go bankrupt paying for health expenses, just as an employer shouldn’t go out of business for providing health benefits. 

Poppins Health has taken the first step to fundamentally change how Americans access and pay for healthcare. We’re creating “the only health plan you’ll ever need” – one that works if you are at a small or large business, are self-employed, or if you are on Medicaid or Medicare. This is ambitious, but we’re turning this vision into a reality.

Olivia Cameron 

For most of my life, my father has run a small business.

We started Poppins Health to provide better, more affordable health benefits for businesses like my father’s – the employers across the country who employ nearly half of the US workforce. The need for a better, different solution than the options today is not new, but now, this notion has been deeply magnified as COVID-19 has continually pushed the industry onto the global stage in an unprecedented way.

As the world rearranges, the fate of many small businesses has become increasingly precarious. Alongside the pervasive reality of loss and upheaval is a strong current of interconnectedness, through which a largely positive side of humanity has emerged and transcended any single individual or organization. Any single entity can only realize growth and progress through the growth and progression of others.

At the core of Poppins Health is a mission to build a collective foundation of connectedness that in turn breaks down barriers to accessing the right healthcare, at the right time, at the right price, for small businesses and their employees. 

Whatever we find on the road to recovery, small businesses will need a new model of affordable and comprehensive health benefits for their employees, and we will be there to help them.

Brodie Stone 

Both of my parents are entrepreneurs. My mom has her own architecture practice and my dad started a software company. We expect small business owners to solve complex problems, provide new jobs for the economy, and compete on an increasingly global stage – and then we ask them to provide comprehensive health care for their employees and their families.

In what ways are employers inherently prepared to help people with their health care? I think the answer is that they often are not. World War II sparked inflation in the United States and due to nationwide limits on raising employee wages, companies had to look for other ways to recruit and compensate their work force – so they turned to health benefits. Today, employers help pay for health care for well over 150M people in the United States.

For decades the prevailing goal for corporations was to maximize profits and deliver greater returns to shareholders, and this is not always aligned with helping employees find the best health care for their needs. Employers are not to blame. Healthcare, along with its less popular but equally important counterpart, health insurance, are ridiculously complicated and far outside the core competency of many business owners. Why should business owners and managers have to run a healthcare company, too?

There is a better way to manage health benefits. It is about time for small businesses to have another option.

Part of the legacy of Poppins Health is built on the small business owners and family members of our founders. Everything that the team does for Poppins’ members is inspired by what we’ve experienced in our personal and professional lives. There is a lack of trust and transparency that has spread throughout the healthcare system, and we work every day at Poppins Health to change that.  

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