Hilary Cooke, MSM-HCA

The future of health insurance

Hilary Cooke has been in the business of health insurance for nine years, and sees this market changing. Two years ago he founded Health Plan Marketplace, an innovative website offering health insurance across the New England states.

"I'm reinventing myself with the idea that there are going to be huge changes in how health insurance is delivered," said Hilary. "I started Health Plan Marketplace to position myself for the future, to be in front of the curve rather than behind it. I don't want to be a casualty."

Part of Hilary's reinvention includes going back to school at the Marlboro College Graduate Center, in their new master's in health care administration program (MSM-HCA). The program provides him with a new skill set and perspective that will give him an edge in his business.

"Being involved with people who are already in the health care business is one of the things that drew me to the graduate center," said Hilary. "I think that with the economy as it is, the real savings in health care is not going to be in how it is funded, but how it is delivered. That's where health care administration comes in."

Hilary values the exposure to new organizational concepts, including many best practices in management that are relatively new in the health care field. He is impressed by the quality of instruction, and has enjoyed getting to know his cohort of classmates.

"While we're each trying to get different things out of it, their perspective is really worth a lot to me," said Hilary. "It's gotten my entrepreneurial juices flowing again. I just see the opportunities out there. It gives me some credibility that you need to have if you want to be engaged in this dialogue. I'm already having pretty interesting discussions with people I meet along the way that would not have happened if I hadn't been in this program."

For example, Hilary has been named to the board of directors of the Sojourns Community Health Clinic, a non-profit, multidisciplinary clinic offering family health care and health education programs in Southern Vermont. He hopes to do a Capstone project for his degree that will benefit the clinic.

"I want to do a Capstone that's going to have an actual impact in an organization, a project that's not just going to be some hypothetical thing but something that's going to be of some utility in health care. I have no interest in being part of the status quo or part of the problem. I'm not bound by anything other than my imagination and my capacity."

The latter is growing significantly at MCGC.