Wednesday, Government Employees Health Association (GEHA) was featured in Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council’s Fall Investor Spotlight. GEHA is a Lee’s Summit-based business that provides medical and dental coverage to federal employees, retired military and their families.
GEHA President & CEO Darren Taylor and members of his executive team informed investors about the history of the company, its new mission and their elevated marketing efforts.
GEHA is the second-largest federal employee health care and dental insurer in the nation. It serves more than two million members in all 50 states plus Washington D.C. and does around $4.5 billion worth of business annually. But despite its success over a long period of time, Taylor said the company felt a need to re-evaluate the strategy it had embraced since it began in Kansas City more than 80 years ago. GEHA took a close look at who it was, what it stood for and how it needed to adjust to compete in the fast-changing health care marketplace.
“We needed to become more current as a company,” Taylor said. “We can’t be that 80-year-old company that stays the same and expect to survive. We must evolve with the market and provide a better experience that empowers our members to be health and well.”
Taylor said GEHA shifted its approach to become focused on being a partner in its members’ healthcare journey, even when they are healthy. GEHA has also expanded its offerings. This year it began offering dental plans to retired uniform service members and is launching two new medical pans effective January 2020.
GEHA is also taking the initiative to increase its brand awareness. Despite holding second place among federal insurers, GEHA had low brand awareness. So the company began discussions with the Kansas City Chiefs, which led to a strategic partnership with the team and NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes. Taylor said he appreciated the common values and commitment to tradition that the Chiefs organization shared with GEHA. Taylor said the initial meetings with the Chiefs focused more on values than business arrangements or money, to ensure it was a good match.
“There are humble roots in both organizations. We weren’t necessarily talking about dollars and the structure of the business deal in the beginning,” said Taylor. “It was nice to start a negotiation on that foundation.”
In July, GEHA announced a multi-year partnership as the Exclusive Health Plan, Dental Plan and Vision Plan Partner of the Kansas City Chiefs. As part of the partnership, GEHA will collaborate with the Chiefs on several initiatives including a new Digital Wellness Program, Military Appreciation Initiatives, updates to the Sports Lab at Arrowhead Stadium and the new GEHA Drum Deck. GEHA is also the presenting partner of the Chiefs Digital Series, The Franchise.
LSEDC President & CEO Rick McDowell said he is excited for the Lee’s Summit company to gain national exposure.
“GEHA is a hidden gem in our community,” said McDowell. “They support a large portion of our workforce in Lee’s Summit. But they are also committed to serving the community through volunteerism and philanthropy and that sense of integrity is apparent in the service that they provide to their members. We are excited for the company as it begins this new chapter of growth.”
True to its Roots
Taylor said as GEHA embarks on its new journey, he is certain the company will remain as humble as it was the day it was founded. “When I came to GEHA two years ago, I felt like I was in a family from day one,” said Taylor. “We want to keep it that way while we approach things with a little more sense of urgency, and proudly let everyone know who we are and what we have to offer.”