In the mid-1990s, Gary Lauer and Vipool Patel met while working at Silicon Graphics. The two realized that with the boom of the Internet, the health insurance industry could really use the benefits of Internet technology because of the amounts of information involved, the old distribution system in place and the need for product for consumers.
On that premise, eHealth Inc. was founded in 1997, and Lauer joined it in 1999 as president and CEO. His first challenge was to market a new distribution channel in a conservative industry that was resistant to change. Lauer and his team had to win over not just consumers but also insurance carriers, and they were successful in doing this. The company quickly built a strong reputation and became a catalyst for change in the health insurance industry. Today, eHealth has more than 500,000 revenue-generating members and has partnered with more than 175 insurance providers.
Lauer was also named chairman in 2002 in addition to his president and CEO responsibilities. As a leader, he has worked to not only grow eHealth but to also encourage and develop his employees. The company offers 90 percent premium coverage for health insurance and also offers employees free access to on-site and local gyms. He also encourages employees to come forward with organizations they care about, and the company has supported causes such as The Giving Tree, Toys for Tots and Walk for the Cure.
HOW TO REACH: eHealth Inc., (800) 977-8860 or www.ehealth.com