I had the pleasure of interviewing Larry Medcalf, a local health insurance broker in Indiana and founder of the start-up CompMedRx.com. Larry is a B.S. graduate of Marian University in Indianapolis, IN and is currently obtaining his Charted Life Underwriter designation. He has been in the health insurance and health products industry for 8 years.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
So I started out in banking as a licensed banker 14 years ago. The bank helped me obtain my securities license as well as life and health license. I enjoyed helping the bank’s customers but I hated working for someone else and starring at the same 4 walls everyday. Because of my longing to be my own boss about 8 years ago I decided to start selling health insurance and meeting with businesses and individual customers all over the Midwest and in the cold winters I work in the Carolina’s where I grew up. A large number of my individual customers have jobs in which they travel, They are self employed truck drivers, traveling sales reps, traveling nurses, you name it. With my own experiences and others I talked to, one of the biggest annoyances is getting ill while traveling. Hoping to find a urgent care center that takes your out of state health insurance, sitting in a waiting room with other sick people and losing time by traveling to the doctor’s office and the pharmacy, time that could be spent getting better. So I decided to start a healthcare focused membership group (compmedrx.com) that all of my customers could join to make getting well not so hard. Our members can call or video conference with a doctor 24 hours a day, everyday a week. That doctor can recommend a treatment plan. If part of the plan involves medication they can call in a prescription to the members nearest pharmacy. If the member uses a doctor that does not take their insurance or they are uninsured we have contracted with a health advocate company that negotiates medical bills on behalf of our members. We provide Rx discounts and more. So while the idea came about as a way to help travelers obviously everyone can benefit, the uninsured, under-insured and just those that want the convenience of the products we offer.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
The first month we got started I wanted to offer the service to my current health insurance clients face to face in order to get feedback on our website and benefits. My wife would often accompany me on these visits. At one particular meeting my wife set her purse down on the floor while we were sitting at their dinner table. She reached down to get her notepad couldn’t find it but saw across the room where their shih tzu was chewing on it behind the recliner. My wife hadn’t even seen the dog come near her purse and when the dog’s owner yelled for the dog by name we both broke out laughing. The dos was aptly named Bandit.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
With there being several new players in the field of telemedicine (and many more likely to come) it has been a challenge to differentiate. I think the biggest advantage that we have is the bundling of several useful benefits and at a price point that is usually less than the typical telemedicine only membership. I was recently on the website of a large telehealth provider and noticed that they were selling monthly family membership for their telehealth only service for 24.95. Compare that to our 14.95 member dues and additional benefits, the value of our service is clear.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
Our focus is on 2 things at this time. First we want to contract with health insurance brokers to allow them to offer our product to their customers. With more and more companies opting to increase deductibles to cut premium cost, we feel there is a real need for these services. The 2nd thing is that we would like to offer a medical network discount card for uninsured and under-insured members as an optional add-on.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
One advantage that I have is that we currently only have 2 employee’s so it’s easy to have an open door policy and to calibrate ideas and projects. I would recommend that you are always listening. As founders most of us have a clear vision of how we want are product to work, look and feel. By listening though not only will you get a better insight into your product but one of the most sincere ways to show respect is to really listen to what someone has to say. Employee’s that feel valued and respected are typically happy productive employees.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
I’m sure this is a common one but I would have to say my wife. My wife has allowed me to pursue starting my own business by managing my health insurance customers sales, appointments and customer service. Without her help in managing my day job I would have never had the time to get my startup off the ground.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I need to do more in this area. About once a month we go to a soup kitchen and help people with their Medicaid and Medicare coverage. Usually just answering questions and in some cases helping them apply for benefits.
Can you share the top ways that technology is changing the experience of going to the doctor.
So the big one that I’ve mentioned is telemedicine. Just 2 weeks ago I used telemedicine for my daughter. It’s early morning and she’s complaining that she doesn’t feel good, her throat hurts and she doesn’t want to go to school. So after determining that she truly was sick and wasn’t playing hooky I pulled up my telemedicine app on my phone and clicked a button to contact a doctor. I chose my daughter as the patient. The app asked me if I would prefer the doctor call me or video conference me on the app. I chose for the doctor to call me. 15 minutes later the doctor calls. After speaking with the doctor he ask me to turn on my phones flashlight and take a picture of my daughters throat and upload it to him. A few minutes later we have a diagnosis, prescription and doctor’s note for school. Not only would that doctor’s visit set me back my $35 copay, but I would have lost a lot of time running around and my daughter would have lost a lot of time she could be resting and getting well. Got to love technology.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
I’ve heard a few variations of this quote from Zig Ziglar, but it’s all the same message. “You can have anything in life you want as long as you help enough people get what they want”. It’s true most of us provide a product or service to people or organizations. No matter what our goals are our immediate goal should always be to help those we serve to the best of our ability. I believe only after this is accomplished and we are continuing to provide the best service do truly deserve to have our wants met.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
I’m a fan of Frank Rumbauskas. A lot of times when I’m in the car driving I listen to his CD’s. If he was ever in Indy I’d like to pick his brain a bit. I think he has a lot to offer when it comes to sales and prospecting.
Originally published at medium.com