Zing Health founder Dr. Eric E. Whitaker will expand the company’s collaboration with key stakeholders in the new role of Executive Chairman and transition his operational role as the company’s CEO to President Andrew Clifton. Whitaker and Clifton will work closely together to ensure a seamless leadership transition that continues the Medicare startup’s exponential growth.
“Our strategic objectives as a physician-founded Medicare Advantage insurer are to put the medical practitioner at the center of healthcare transformation and to address the social determinants that keep communities healthy,” Whitaker said. “At this point in Zing Health’s growth, these goals deserve my complete focus. I’m proud of our healthcare startup’s maturity in building a world-class team and infrastructure. Andrew is the right person to take our organization to the next level.”
An internal medicine physician trained at UCSF, Harvard and the University of Chicago, Whitaker is a former Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health and a nationally recognized authority on population health. The Chicago native has used his influence and knowledge to lead Zing Health in extending Medicare Advantage plans to under-resourced populations.
Clifton, an innovator in Medicare Advantage plans at Advise Insurance, WellCare Health Plans and Centene Corp., joined Zing Health as president in July. For 2023, Zing Health has expanded its unique health maintenance organization and point-of-service offerings, including special needs plans for members with diabetes or heart conditions.
“Dr. Whitaker will continue to be a great mentor for me, and we’ll be partners in advancing Zing Health going forward,” Clifton said. “We have ambitious growth targets over the next several years and will continue to build a market-leading member experience that engages in a much more culturally competent way than other health insurers.”
As Executive Chairman, Whitaker will build on his relationships with policymakers, investors, regulators, practitioners and the American Medical Association to advocate for population health issues and organize clinical and civic stakeholders in the Midwest Health Equity Coalition.
“Black and Brown populations are harder to reach and serve. Policymakers must recognize the issues in addressing their health disparities,” Whitaker said. “There’s a strong need to make sure that underserved populations are dealt with fairly and equitably. I’m convinced Zing Health will continue to be a force for healthcare innovation and transformation.”
Since its spinout in 2019 from Health2047, the Silicon Valley innovation subsidiary of the American Medical Association, Zing Health has addressed inadequacies in the healthcare system by creating tech-enabled, community-based Medicare Advantage health plans. The insurer has expanded its Illinois, Indiana and Michigan provider networks, has gained a national footprint with the acquisition of Lasso Healthcare and was honored with the inaugural Social Impact Award at Chicago startup incubator 1871's 15th annual Momentum Awards.
“We’ve grown to a 176-person company which has employees in 31 states,” Whitaker said. “We were named one of Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in 2022 thanks to our phenomenal culture. I’m excited for what the future holds on our mission to help all seniors get the health care they deserve.”
Source: Zing Health