Colin Bouillon is keyed up. For nine years, Bouillon has been working on ways to fix problems in the health insurance industry. Some of the problems are modest, like using Excel to automate mailings. Others, like adapting to the Affordable Care Act, are a bit more hardy.
Speaking with an aura of competitive spirit and energy, he’s tempered seemingly only by the hours in a day. Bouillon is young, having graduated from Purdue University in 2015 with a degree in Retail Management, a minor in Organizational Leadership, and a certificate in Entrepreneurship. And he did it in about four years, taking up to twenty-two credit hours a semester. Aside from the time he spent at Purdue and a stint in Columbus, he was born, raised, and continues to live in Fort Wayne near his family and girlfriend.
In Bouillon’s worldview, technology can help fix just about anything, and he’s just the man to arrange it. “Coming out of college, Obamacare was just getting implemented,” he recalls. “I heard about health coverage and it was constantly described as a problem. I was interested in asking, ‘What’s going on with these problems? If I get into the business, can I help’”?
A self-proclaimed computer and data guy, Bouillon started researching how health coverage worked. He came away with an appreciation for the industry. “I thought this was a good field, that I could bring some innovation and make an impact. I thought this was something I could jump into with both feet.”
Straight out of Purdue, Bouillon got a job working for Columbus-based SIHO and enrolled in their Management Training Program. The program promised a quick way to get into management. “I was managing up to nine people, handling eligibility across lots of businesses. And I was making an impact there,” he recalls. At the time, COBRA and eligibility claims involved a slew of manual steps, paperwork, and writing stuff down for mailings. That’s when he realized he could show colleagues advanced Excel features, write small scripts or programs, and automate a lot of the work. The result was savings for team members, and the pride of knowing his reason for entering the field was real.
Around the same time, Bouillon worked on a project handling the eligibility for IU Health’s new Marketplace Program. “The first year they had about 600-800 people in it. Then they got aggressive and the next year they had 15 or 20,000.” He says that was “innovation out of necessity”, as time was short. “We had to improve the ways we had been doing things for ten years or more.”
Full of ideas and spirit, he got to work and asked team members, “What is the most annoying thing you have to do every day?” One answer came as a 100-line log used for mailing paperwork. With a knack for eliminating inefficiencies, Bouillon developed a way to automate a report in a fraction of the time.
Shortly after the Management Training program at SIHO, Bouillon moved into their sales team and quickly joined Health Underwriters. A layoff because of departmental restructuring happened. So Bouillon got scooped up by PHP of Northern Indiana. Immediately after being hired by PHP, he re-upped his NAHU membership again. Today, Bouillon is an account manager with PHP, primarily working with self-funded businesses and large employers. He’s continued to bring innovation to this role.
“The expectation is insurance is a big computer program that does everything. But there’s a reason there are so many areas for innovation and improvement. The more you dig in, the more you realize there’s a lot you didn’t know and can learn. I’ve learned a lot in the last six or seven years, and I still pick up something new every week.”
The loss of his position might cause most people to sputter or rethink their prospects, but Bouillon is unflinching. “I’m a competitive person,” he says. “Despite being past my athletic prime, I like to play a variety of sports.” You’d be excused for not thinking he’s “past his prime” seeing him tear through everything from softball, handball, Tough Mudders, and white water rafting. His competitive streak even extends into board games.
Bouillon has been able to further bridge his love of sports and his profession. “We have a local non-for-profit speaker to start out every meeting, so that gave me the opportunity to introduce my chapter to two of my former football teammates (pictured above) who started a nonprofit here in Fort Wayne called Bigger Than Us (BTU) which helps the community through events like bag-pack drives and youth mentorship.” He’s thankful this connection was possible through his membership. “It speaks to how NAHU really does embrace their new members and allows them to put their stamp on the chapter and network in the community.”
His drive and NAHU have helped him go further, even though he admits he first thought membership would be bland. “You first hear about NAHU and you think it’s people who get together and work in the insurance industry. They eat and talk about things. On the surface, that sounds like the most boring, traditional, business meeting type thing. Like you’re just sitting there and suffering through. But I’ve found how fun and engaging it is and how welcoming everyone is to new people. I always look forward to the next lunch.”