Startup insurer Bright Health, which is expanding next year into seven new states, has hired veteran Twin Cities executive Mike Mikan as vice chairman and president of the Minneapolis-based company.
Mikan, who was an interim chief executive at Best Buy and held leadership roles at UnitedHealth Group, will lead a team of newly hired executives focused on products, technology and consumers.
Bright Health sells coverage for individuals plus seniors who buy Medicare Advantage plans. Bob Sheehy, who also is a former top executive at UnitedHealth Group, will continue as CEO at Bright Health.
"Every industry is becoming more consumer-centric and nowhere is that more significant than in health care, where people's lives are literally at stake," Mikan said in a statement to the Star Tribune. "That's one of the reasons I'm so excited to be at Bright Health. … It's also why we are investing heavily in teams like our consumer, product and technology team to deliver on a superior consumer health care experience."
Mikan was named interim chief executive in 2012 at Richfield-based Best Buy, where he served on the company's board of directors for several years. At Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth, he was involved with mergers and acquisitions before a brief tenure running Optum, the company's fast-growing health services business.
Mikan's grandfather, George, was a Minneapolis Lakers star who is known as one of the pioneers of pro basketball, leading the Lakers to several championships before the franchise moved to Los Angeles.
Bright Health was launched in 2015 in part to capitalize on the individual market, where the federal government subsidizes many purchasers via tax credits under the federal Affordable Care Act. Bright Health is one of many insurers trying to capture growth in the Medicare Advantage market.
The company works closely with regional health care systems in what are sometimes called "narrow network" arrangements, where patients are limited to a subset of doctors and hospitals for in-network care. The idea is that health systems in such an arrangement are more accountable for the cost and quality of care.
Bright Health was founded by Sheehy, Kyle Rolfing and Tom Valdivia. Rolfing, who previously was president at Bright Health and has launched several startups in the Twin Cities, "moved on to pursue other opportunities," the company said in a statement. "We are grateful for his contributions to the company and its mission."
As of March, Bright Health said it employed 228 people and was providing coverage to more than 60,000 subscribers. For 2019, Bright Health expanded beyond existing markets for the company in Alabama, Arizona and Colorado into portions of New York, Ohio and Tennessee.
After raising an additional $200 million in financing last year, Bright Health announced plans to expand for 2020 into regional health plan markets in another seven states.
In addition to Mikan, Bright Health announced the appointment of three other new executives: Brian Gambs as chief technology officer; Jon Porter as chief product officer; and Allison (Ali) M. Wing as chief consumer officer.
Christopher Snowbeck • 612-673-4744 Twitter: @chrissnowbeck