Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, M.D., M.P.H, founded Zing Health in 2019 to make Medicare Advantage the best it can be. As a primary care physician, he focused on preventive health and innovative healthcare solutions for minority communities. He also served as director of the Illinois Department of Public Health and EVP and associate dean of community-based research at the University of Chicago Medical Center
Zing Health Enterprises, a physician-founded-and-led provider of Medicare Advantage health plans, has signed definitive documents to acquire Lasso Healthcare Insurance Co. The acquisition gives Chicago-based Zing Health a national footprint to reach diverse communities with innovative Medicare Advantage health plans that lower the cost of high-quality care. Founded in 2019 by two Black physician-entrepreneurs, Zing offers community-based Medicare Advantage plans to reduce health disparities among seniors, who are often minorities, across the Midwest. Lasso Healthcare has a nationwide reach and a model that can bring affordable coverage to rural communities, helping Zing work to reduce healthcare disparities across the board.
Lasso Healthcare, based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, offers Medicare Advantage (MA) plans in 34 states and the District of Columbia. Its insurance offerings currently cover over 6,000 members. Lasso Healthcare offers a pioneering consumer-directed Medicare Advantage product, called a Medicare Medical Savings Account Plan.
The planned acquisition broadens Zing Health’s geographic footprint. This approach aims to put more financial control in the hands of those insured and to offer an alternative to seniors that is similar to the growing popularity of High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) alongside Health Savings Accounts (HSA) for employees. Lasso Healthcare also offers a hospital indemnity insurance product (HIP), which is a supplemental policy that reduces the costs of hospitalization for beneficiaries.
Improving Access to Medicare Advantage in Both Urban and Rural Communities
The planned acquisition broadens Zing Health’s geographic footprint while offering a solution for Medicare-eligible seniors in rural areas who may have a difficult time accessing a traditional provider network.
“Zing Health was founded with the idea that incumbent Medicare Advantage insurers have neglected certain segments of the senior population. Similarly, Lasso Healthcare has developed MA products that benefit underserved rural populations,” said Zing Health Founder and CEO Dr. Eric E. Whitaker. “Lasso’s rural focus is a perfect complement to Zing’s focus on diverse populations in urban communities.”
“We are excited to work with Zing Health’s innovative and seasoned leadership,” said Craig Ritter, CEO of Lasso Healthcare. “Their approach to developing high quality, member-centric Medicare Advantage insurance products mirrors our own. Our teams look forward to building a nationally impactful company together.”
The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be closed in the third quarter of 2021. Once the transaction is complete, nearly all the current employees of Lasso Healthcare are expected to join the Zing Health team and will continue to lead its local operations, ensuring continuity for its MA members.