Colin Laughlin Celebrates Pride Month while Reflecting on What Needs to be Done
Colin Laughlin joined Fidelis Care in 2013 as an analyst supporting the Product Development team and is now Senior Director, Product Development and Innovation. He is also a member of Centene’s cPRIDE Employee Inclusion Group.
In the following Q&A, Colin shares more about his role, the importance of technology to enhancing access for our members, and celebrating the achievements of the LGBTQIA+ community while also addressing the continued challenges.
Q. Tell us about your background, your career at Centene, and your current role as Senior Director, Product Development and Innovation, Fidelis Care?
A. I started my career at Fidelis Care as an analyst supporting the newly created Product Development team shortly after graduating from a master’s program in Public Health at Columbia University. Our first project was to implement the Marketplace Product and having studied the Affordable Care Act in school, I was thrilled to see firsthand where the rubber meets the road at the intersection of policy and real life. As my responsibilities grew, I took on ownership of the Marketplace Products, implemented several new lines of business, and even supported the integration with Centene. In my role, I have responsibility for Medicaid, Medicare, and Marketplace Product Operations and Performance Management. I am excited to continue focusing on ensuring operational excellence and compliance, as well as developing an infrastructure that allows us to have greater and more consistent insight into product performance.
Q. What is the most meaningful part of your job?
A. A professor at school once chided me for “joining the dark side” in going to work for a managed care organization. I could understand the sentiment but am proud to work in this industry and have been very fortunate to work with colleagues who are dedicated to improving access to and affordability of healthcare across the nation. I chose to pursue a career in public health in the hopes that I would have a broader impact than in single patient interactions. Knowing our work to advance quality and innovation has direct impact on millions of people in New York is humbling and incredibly satisfying.
Q. Can you talk about the importance of technology and other innovations to enhance care to our members and the communities we serve?
A. If someone had told me when I accepted my first job at Fidelis that the people I would work most closely with were going to be in the IT department, I would not have believed them. Technology is woven into the fabric of everything we do — processing claims, analyzing data, answering member questions — and often that technology is not particularly visible. Accelerated in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a renewed focus on new horizons in healthcare technology focusing on expanding access to care in rural communities, establishing remote monitoring to allow people to stay safely in their homes, simplifying access to supplemental supports to address social determinants of health, and providing live or digital social engagement to reduce isolation. The list goes on.
As technology advances and members’ facility with it continues to grow, so do their expectations of their health insurance provider. I am excited to see where technology (visible and not) continues to evolve in our industry to allow us to exceed our members’ expectations and introduce them to new ways to more meaningfully engage with their health.
Q. Who influenced you most during your career and why?
A. After graduating college, my father’s sole career advice was, “Do something important.” This simple (and very Irish Catholic) statement is, in many ways, challenging to live. I think about it all the time, and it has been the lens through which I have evaluated every professional decision. I am grateful Fidelis and Centene have allowed me to do important things.
Q. How is Centene’s approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) different from other companies?
A. DEI at Centene is a call to action. Whether it is a thoughtful and compassionate response to a tragedy, a commitment to ensuring voices are heard, or direct service to communities, Centene and its employees are dedicated to taking specific and meaningful action to make our organization more inclusive, diverse, and supportive of the communities we serve.
Q. Tell us about why you became involved with the cPRIDE EIG.
A. Participating in cPRIDE events is an excellent way to stay engaged with issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community and share ideas on how to improve our member and employee engagement on these topics. In my first meeting, I was blown away by the energy and passion of the individuals who contributed, and I walked away with several ideas to discuss with the Fidelis team that can have direct impact. Our EIGs are a fantastic resource to help me expand my understanding and support meaningful engagement in outcomes-oriented discussions.
Q. What are your thoughts on the significance of Pride Month?
A. I understand that the freedoms I enjoy today are the direct result of the sacrifices and struggles of many who came before me. Personally, LGBTQIA+ Pride Month is an opportunity to learn about and engage with their stories, to celebrate what has been accomplished, and reflect on what still needs to be done. It is easy for me to forget that my experience living in New York City is not the same as many in our nation and across the globe. Beyond the glitz and parties, Pride Month is an opportunity to re-engage on the challenges the LGBTQIA+ community continues to face.