- Grant Verstandig is the chief digital officer of UnitedHealth Group, the largest health insurer in the US.
- Verstandig, 29, is also the CEO of Rally Health, a startup he founded after dropping out of college at 21. UnitedHealth has a majority stake in Rally, which led Verstandig to his role leading the digital strategy of the healthcare giant.
- Between the reach UnitedHealth has and the consumer experience he’s built at Rally, Verstandig is optimistic about what can be accomplished in healthcare. “I think you can have an Amazon-like effect for consumers,” he said.
Grant Verstandig, the chief digital officer of UnitedHealth Group and CEO of Rally Health, doesn’t look like your typical buttoned-up, gray-haired healthcare executive.
Verstandig, 29, is a former Brown University lacrosse player who dropped out of college following his sophomore year after blowing out his knee.
After surgery, he asked his doctor when he might be able to play again. The doctor, Verstandig recalled, did a double take and told him, “Grant, you can’t walk for six months, let alone play again.” While the surgery had gone well, Verstandig and his doctor had different ideas about what a successful result looked like.
That experience with the healthcare system led him to leave Brown at age 21 and start Rally Health.
“To me, that sounded like industry ripe for disruption,” Verstandig said.
Based in Washington, DC, Rally has two businesses to it. The first is a product that focuses on engaging people when they’re not in the doctor’s office to keep them on the right track toward goals like weight loss, stress management, or better eating and sleeping habits. As an incentive for the work the members are putting in, Rally lowers their healthcare premiums. Rally is about to cross $1 billion in member-earned incentives, Verstandig said in June.
The second component, called Rally Care, works with insurance companies to help their members better use their benefits. Say someone needs a knee replacement. Through Rally Care, that person can figure out which doctors are in their network and how much the procedure might cost at different hospitals.
In 2014, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth acquired a majority stake in Rally.
Three years later, Verstandig stepped into the newly created role of chief digital officer at UnitedHealth, a position he holds in addition to his responsibilities as chief executive of Rally.
Verstandig is now helping to build the digital tools UnitedHealth can use with its nearly 50 million members. That includes a big push to getting members onto UnitedHealth’s mobile app to help them manage their healthcare benefits.
“We’re now just beginning to unleash the data,” Verstandig said. Between the reach UnitedHealth has and the consumer experience he’s built at Rally, Verstandig is optimistic about what can be accomplished.
“I think you can have an Amazon-like effect for consumers,” he said.
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