Meet the Minds Behind the Movement: Brian Cosgray and Brian Strom
When you see a problem you know you can fix, you set out to solve it.
At least, that’s what you do when you have 20+ years of industry experience, a passion for innovation, and a gift for leadership. One afternoon in September 2020, two guys (both named Brian) decided to tackle a specific issue. Brian Cosgray contacted Brian Strom, asking if he was interested in forming a company to build a new consumer directed healthcare platform using modern technology.
Now, three years later, co-founder and CEO Brian Cosgray and co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Brian Strom (The Brian Team) reflect on their achievements with the company they dreamed up that day: Elevate.
Elevate is the first of its kind in the industry–an advanced technology platform for the administration of all types of consumer benefit accounts. It uses the latest technological innovations–RESTful APIs, AI, automation, and workflow processing—to deliver a modern, simplified experience. A faster, error-free, consumer-friendly experience that finally does what CDH was supposed to do—make it easier for Americans to pay for the care they need.
98% of all employers offer CDH benefits, but they're complicated to use and often frustrating for everyone involved.
The industry's letdown
The CDH industry has let consumers down over the years. It has not kept pace with the consumer technology we enjoy elsewhere in our lives—like cash apps that allow us to pay our babysitters or split the dinner tab with friends.
Employees using these accounts must deal with physical benefit cards and complicated web portals. They often have to use physical receipts and paper forms, which adds another inconvenience. Reimbursements take weeks, and they waste valuable time making phone calls to figure out claim statuses. Of course, all this hassle is to access money and benefits they’ve already earned. It shouldn’t be so difficult for employees to get their own money.
Not only do employees deal with these issues, employers and account administrators also struggle to provide positive experiences using antiquated tools and understaffed call centers. Account administrators face cumbersome, fragile, and error-prone technology that requires programming and ticketing queues to make any changes, provides only limited data and reporting, and is burdened with plan design constraints.
Frankly, CDH technology hasn’t kept up with the benefits promise to employees—access to money for needed care.
Into this quagmire stepped The Brian Team. They saw the problems and set out to modernize and simplify the access and use of benefits across the spectrum–for employees, employers, and account administrators.
Brian Cosgray, CEO
Before founding Elevate, Brian Cosgray led a team at Businessolver that developed and launched a proprietary, in-house consumer directed benefits platform for Fortune 100, state government, and mid-sized business clients. As he worked with the current technology platforms on the market, he struggled to find one that met his needs–and the needs of his clients.
“We were really frustrated with the current technology solution available at the time. We went looking for something better and couldn’t find it. In 2020, I left with the idea that we needed to build a brand new platform to bring the industry forward into the modern age. My first call was Brian Strom.” – Brian Cosgray
Brian Strom, CTO
Brian Strom is an entrepreneur and technology executive with experience creating, managing, and scaling innovative technology organizations. Brian is involved in every aspect of Elevate’s development and sets the technology vision. As the former CTO and co-founder of ConnectYourCare, an industry leader recently acquired by Optum, Brian wrote the original code for its platform 20 years ago. Now, he’s applying all the lessons learned from two decades of experience to the Elevate platform.
“I was extremely excited. I’ve been in this space for 20-plus years. The existing technology just never got it right. I felt like I had the opportunity and the chance to really get it right, which is a first for the industry.” – Brian Strom
As The Brian Team built Elevate, they focused on embedding three aspects into the foundation of the solution:
- Branding. Today’s top-performing account administrators seek to differentiate their solutions in a crowded market, and so showcasing their business differentiators and building products within their trusted brand becomes even more critical. Elevate’s technology offers complete partner branding with the ability to embed all account functionality into a broader employee benefits platform, or through a full white-label solution.
- Configurability. As plan regulations, benefit trends, and employer needs evolve, it was necessary to build a single platform with the ability to administer all types of plans, with the ability to adjust those plan rules in real time. Elevate’s solution is designed to accommodate all plan designs, administer them on a single platform, and configure settings, rules, and behavior at any business segment level while allowing immediate changes.
- Real-time automation. The Elevate platform is built to integrate with generative AI and real-time automation capabilities, unlike the outdated batch architecture of legacy systems. The AI-enabled solutions eliminate consumer friction and unnecessary administration costs with instant claims processing and same-day reimbursements, reimbursements through cash apps like PayPal and Venmo, and personalized, real-time interactions.
“It’s very simple,” Brian Strom said. “When employees are using their spending accounts, all they have to do is swipe their card at the pharmacy. They’re done. It’s a very simple user experience, but very complicated behind the scenes.”
By adding automation to the process, Elevate reduces the time needed to complete a transaction. Elevate’s AI will read the claim or card transaction data, interpret it in real-time, and make a decision on how to process it. Instead of taking days or weeks, it takes seconds.
One of the issues is the human error that happens when running these platforms. People make mistakes doing monotonous work, but the technology–when done correctly–doesn’t make mistakes, nor does it take a holiday. Not only that, but it’s also faster.
“The AI that we've introduced into our claim processing can adjudicate up to 90% of the claims that we'll see,” said Brian Strom. “Even better–we give real-time feedback to the customers to tell them what they've done wrong as they're doing it.”
Brian and Brian aren’t doing it alone. They’ve formed a team of experts that has, on average, two decades of experience in the industry. They have an in-depth knowledge about the problems with traditional benefits platforms and how best to solve them, because a lot has changed over the years.
“What we really look for in building out our team are people with a real desire to do things differently–and do them better using technology,” Brian Cosgray said.
Elevating the future
With the use of the latest technological advances, experienced people, and visionary co-founders, Elevate is meeting the needs of employers and employees in a way that wasn’t possible in the past.
For example, incumbent platforms were built before many technological advancements existed, like cloud, mobile, modern security practices, or API-oriented designs.
“Administering consumer directed benefits is hard work,” said Brian Strom. “It takes a lot of people and a lot of energy to get it right. But it shouldn’t be that way. That’s why we started Elevate–to take that burden off of you.”
“It's such a great time to be in technology, and we're so excited to continue to bring the best and most modern technologies to the benefits industry,” said Brian Cosgray.
See The Brian Team tell their story here.