With almost 30 years of health care experience, Katie Guhr has spent the last thirteen years with profit and loss responsibility over Medicare Advantage products. Katie was most recently with Centene Corporation where she was the interim Medicare CEO, focusing on growth, organizational structure, compliance, quality, strategy, product and sales and marketing.
Earlier this month, Katie joined a panel of experts at the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit for a session on Payments, Pilots and Partnerships in the longevity market. She shared with Mary Furlong & Associates three of the most important takeaways from that session. First, the Medicare Advantage space is a large and rapidly growing market. Estimates suggest it could reach 70% market penetration by the year 2040. The largest Medicare Advantage players today according to national membership statistics released by CMS in June are, UnitedHealth Group, Inc, Humana Inc., CVS Health Corporation, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Anthem Inc. Anthem was one of the first companies to introduce the concept of social determinants of health benefits for plan year 2019.
Second, payers in this space are excited about the growth and they need innovative partners to deliver services to members that both delight them and ensure a good user experience. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, entrepreneurs need to approach payers and investors with a clear value proposition that they can articulate in a succinct way that is supported with evidence and case studies from the field. “When you speak the language of the investor or payer it means they will have a clear understanding of your product’s value and the potential partnership path will be clear,” Katie shared.
Reflecting on her time at the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit and the value it has in the field, Katie shared her enthusiasm for the innovation that was showcased during the two-day event. She found it impressive to see that so many organizations are entering the longevity space and using their imaginations to explore what the possibilities can be for serving older adults. She finds that Summits like this one can spark imagine when it comes to reinterpreting what care can look like.
Beyond the in-depth breakout sessions offered, Katie found that the Summit competitions were particularly engaging and the companies pitching were of a high caliber. In her work, Katie is seeing seniors who are working longer, not just for a paycheck but for a sense of purpose and so she was pleased to see Work at Home Vintage Experts (WAHVE) move on as a finalist in the Silicon Valley Innovation Competition sponsored by AARP Innovation Labs. Another important theme from the Summit was the growing importance of in-home monitoring as seniors want to stay home longer during their healthcare journey to avoid the expenses associated with hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.
As an expert in the longevity field, Katie had some important words of wisdom for innovators and entrepreneurs who are just entering the longevity marketplace. First, take the time to get to know the population you are interested in serving. Make sure your innovation addresses a real need. Listen to the stories of your potential customers and spend time in senior communities and with providers. When you put in this kind of effort, investors will see your business as authentic and your pitch to them will ring true because you will have collected evidence about your product’s workability. Second, entrepreneurs need to keep in mind that they are entering a highly regulated and compliant system. So along with having a passion to serve the beneficiary in this system, companies should take the time to learn about the underlying layer of regulation that exists.