Michael Showalter: Leading with a Passion for Serving Customers

Michael Showalter, CEO, Health e(fx)

Access to quality, affordable healthcare is the most essential need of citizens in any country. It was the zeal to address this need that fueled Michael Showalter’s passion to become part of the solution to provide access to quality, affordable healthcare to everyone in the United States.

Michael’s passion is also driven by three personal life experiences: As he was growing up, Michael’s dad was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Consequently, his employer denied his father’s promotion because they didn’t recognize that a person can have MS and live a full, productive life. Then, early in his own career, Michael turned down a job opportunity – the new employer wouldn’t offer health coverage because his wife was being treated for cancer.

Later on, Michael became member of a multi-national healthcare think tank. At almost every meeting, representatives from other countries would ask those who were from the U.S. why the wealthiest nation on Earth couldn’t provide healthcare for all of its citizens (which every other member country of the think tank had figured out). It made Michael realize that America’s healthcare position at the time just wasn’t defensible. Solving the issue of access to quality, affordable care for everyone drives Michael even more today in light of the global health crisis we know as COVID-19.

Successful Track Record

As CEO, Michael leads Health e(fx) with a passion for serving customers. An accomplished industry veteran, Michael is recognized for his senior leadership experience and successful track record for growth in both healthcare startups and large organizations. Internally, Michael promotes a customer-centric culture of respect, responsibility, focus and working together. His diverse and challenging experiences have given Michael a broad, holistic view of customer needs within the healthcare industry. As a change agent, he has a proven track record of creating growth for companies in the highly competitive and dynamic healthcare space.

Transforming Healthcare Solutions

Reforming a system as complicated as healthcare can actually add to the system’s complexity. Although employers provide healthcare coverage for their employees, Michael understands that the average employer doesn’t want to be an expert on the intricacies of healthcare or how to transform it. That’s where Health e(fx) plays an important role. The purpose of Health e(fx) is to serve its customers by transforming healthcare one solution, one dataset and one life at a time.

Thriving on Complexity

Health e(fx) expertise can solve employers’ complex health reform obligations. For example, the new Biden Administration will likely seek to enforce stricter employer compliance of Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting regulations to ensure that private sector companies are doing their part for health reform. On the private sector side, each employer has unique, and oftentimes complicated, needs in meeting those compliance regulations. Health e(fx) thrives on that complexity. It’s at this intersection between government expectation and private sector need for support to fulfill obligations where Health e(fx) impacts health reform.

Active Data Management

Health reform and compliance is Health e(fx)’s specialty. It’s how it has become the largest ACA software solution provider, serving strategic partners, some of the nation’s largest employers and over 22 million individuals. Through active data management, Health e(fx) helps employers catch potential compliance risks early, deliver timely federal and state reporting, and uncover unique workforce insights.

Improving the Lives of Others

The support Health e(fx) provides to employers and their representatives, as well as to strategic partners, is rooted in its passion for serving its client’s best interests. In addition to Health e(fx)’s core business, Michael believes that, as a successful organization, Health e(fx) has a duty to be a good citizen in the community in which its employees live and work. All of its employees support philanthropic organizations. In 2020 alone, it helped 23 organizations that provide meals and homeless shelters, support for students in school, as well as resources for education on building multicultural relationships.

Michael is proud of the role Health e(fx) plays to help reform healthcare and make its communities better places to live, work and play. Yet, the need for strong leaders is great, and many more must come forward. Afterall, left on its own, any system, organization, department or even individual will lean toward homeostasis. Everyone wants to navigate toward comfort and stay with what’s familiar. One of the most important qualities needed in future leaders is the ability to question the status quo and transform it. And that will create disruption, which is frequently unwelcome. Therefore, to future leaders, Michael says, “Be brave, be authentic, be yourself. Drive the change that’s needed, which means putting change first and yourself last.” Michael also advises future leaders to “be grateful that you have the opportunity to lead. It’s an honor. For a short time in your life, you’ll get the opportunity to lead an organization. Lead with humility and remember that leadership is a role, not an identity.”

Appreciating Cooperative Spirit

Michael applauds every healthcare worker whom he has ever encountered. He owes his life to a surgeon. His dad’s life was saved by many doctors. His mom and wife were both saved from cancer by many healthcare workers.

The actual determinants of physical, mental and emotional health are driven by paying attention to what our bodies and minds try to tell us. Michael says that, “We each need to find a way to listen to ourselves and live-in harmony with what we hear. We need to learn to live in flow instead of turning to clinicians and expecting them to hand over a means for each of us to cope with our lifestyle choices. To achieve flow requires that each of us becomes quiet and listens to ourselves. That we treat others as we’d treat ourselves. And that we respect what each person needs and then honor that.”

Michael further adds that, “While each of us needs to take responsibility for our own health journey, we can’t do it alone. Employers must support the people who work for them by providing quality, affordable healthcare coverage, sponsoring total wellbeing education and activities, and playing an active role in health reform initiatives. Only then we will have a truly healthy society.”

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