Gina Hope loves her job helping market games like "Call of Duty," at Activision Blizzard in Los Angeles. Her health insurance was another thing.
"I have a son with special needs," Hope explained. "We don't want to be switching from provider to provider, because it's a learning process every time somebody new comes into the picture."
Her child's provider was out of network and for years it has meant she spent thousands of dollars for his care out of pocket.
When Activision Blizzard switched to a start-up benefits manager called Collective Health for 2016, she was skeptical. She checked was to see if her son's provider was covered. He wasn't. She mentioned it to her colleagues in Human Resources, not expecting anything to happen, but then things changed.
"The next thing I know, they had signed up my son's provider and brought him in network for me without me even asking — without me making a phone call," Hope said. "And this year, it saved us $17,000."
That kind of service is why Activision's H.R. chief took a chance on the start-up.
"We're not a huge organization," said Milt Ezzard, the company's senior director of global benefits. "We don't have all of the muscle power like a Microsoft would have to push a (health insurance) carrier around to do things in a way that makes sense to us. But I have a mentality that we deserve that kind of treatment."
The founders of San Francisco-based Collective Health launched the firm in 2015 out of their own frustration with the way their health insurance benefits worked.
"I'm a doctor who did a PhD in political economy," said Dr. Rajaie Batniji, one of the firm's co-founders, "and frankly I'm very confused when I try to access the (health-care) system."