Glen Tullman on what it takes to disrupt healthcare: compassion and an unyielding sense of justice

The health care system in this country is broken. Few people know this better than Glen Tullman, who has spent his career as a serial entrepreneur providing affordable, equitable care for all, which he sees as an essential right.

“In this country, everyone deserves quality health care that is affordable, and a lot of the practices we have today don’t promote that. People make money by doing the wrong thing,” Tullman said in an interview during businesstraverse.com.‘s Goal Power Summit this week. He is the CEO of Transcarent, a healthcare navigation company based in San Francisco. He previously ran Livongo, a diabetes monitoring service acquired by Teladoc Health in 2020. “So we think there’s an opportunity to use technology and smart business redesign to change that.”

Part of the solution comes with eliminating the middleman, or the insurers. For example, every time an individual puts a co-payment on something or co-insurance, they’re reducing its use, Tullman notes, and it’s the lower economic groups in our society that are most affected.

“Providers in the middle deny the friction, the billing,” he says. “All those things don’t help you get healthy, so we say what if we go straight to the middle to the people who provide care.”

Medical costs, he says, are the leading cause of bankruptcies in the US, which is why private companies like Transcarent have a chance. Transcarent, for its part, is working to disrupt the market by taking insurance out of the equation, eliminating co-payments and retaining quality health workers by paying them higher salaries. All that is to say, if you want to treat everyone equally, you need to do more than start a business, you need to rethink the current model that fully exists.