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Dallas 500

Meet the Dallas 500: Chris Gay, Evry Health

The health insurance CEO shares his desires for the industry, favorite local hidden gems, and the time he rolled his first car.
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Chris Gay, CEO, Evry Health

Chris Gay is on a mission to digitize health insurance in his role as CEO of Evry Health. Since being founded in 2017, Dallas-based Evry Health established itself as a mobile-friendly and tech-first approach to health insurance that has eliminated the copay and deductible to remove barriers to care. In addition to North Texas, it offers plans in Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.

Last fall, Evry Health was acquired by local insurance powerhouse Globe Life, which was already an investor in the company. Gay described the deal as adding rocket fuel to the already successful business. He will remain at the helm, and services will continue as usual but with a significant financial upgrade. Globe Life has $25 billion in assets and $5 billion to $6 billion in annual revenue and already has a $1.3 billion investment in medical and supplemental health insurance.

Below, read about Gay’s adventures into the wilderness, how he almost died in a faulty Ford Bronco, and why the healthcare industry could benefit from more transparency.

Education: Georgetown University (MBA), The University of Texas at Austin (BA)

Birthplace: “Ft. Stewart, Georgia. Also known as ‘Camp Swampy’ from the Beetle Bailey comics.”

First Job: “My first job was mowing lawns, and I learned an appreciation for high-quality tools. Then I had typical summer jobs as a lifeguard, teaching swimming and working in fast food. After university, my first job was as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs (in the Archon Group). At Goldman, I learned that software and data management were the core of a financial business, so I took up Java software development and switched from the Portfolio Management team to the I.T. team. An added bonus was that the I.T. team didn’t wear suits.”

Best Advice: “Treat others as you want to be treated.”

Destinations of Choice: “The Pecos Wilderness in New Mexico for backpacking with my kids is one of our all-time favorites. It is 220,000 acres of pristine alpine forests and meadows, only nine hours from Dallas. Also, trout always tastes better when you catch it yourself after a long day of hiking. Another fun place we enjoy visiting is a combination of Monahans State Park to sand dune sled in the morning, followed by swimming in the afternoon at Balmorhea State Park. In the evening, we drive up to stay in Fort Davis in the mountains, and the next day, try to make a star gazing party at the McDonald Observatory.”

Hobbies/Passions: “My physical and mental outlets are running, weight training, crossword puzzles, and reading. One of my favorite spots for trail running in Dallas is Norbuck Park, and in general, I try to be outdoors daily. I also enjoy gardening and converted our front yard into a pollinator garden that attracts hummingbirds, several species of bees, and many butterflies and moths. When Monarch butterflies are migrating in August and September, we sometimes have 20 butterflies feeding and resting in the front garden beds.”

Industry Change: “I would increase the transparency on all costs for medical procedures and non-medical services through the entire value chain. I would increase the transparency on all costs for medical procedures and non-medical services through the entire value chain. Healthcare should be a solution, not a system.”

Local Fare: “Tacos La Banqueta on Gaston Ave in Dallas, located in the Fina gas station, is a favorite for Tacos al Pastor. Another family favorite for 25 years is Jeng Chi in Richardson on Greenville Ave. We always order juicy dumplings, vegetable steamed dumplings, and eggplant.”

Guilty Pleasure: “Drinking a light beer after a long day outside.”

Fun Fact: “Even my children didn’t believe my wife when she told them I once had long hair. To prove it, she brought out the wedding photo album.”

Toughest Challenge: “How to get someone to change their opinion.”

First Ride: “My first car was a Ford Bronco II, and I rolled it in an accident as a teenager. Later, I learned that the vehicle model was the subject of a class action lawsuit. I was lucky to walk away with only minor injuries.”

Biggest Success: “We increased digital health engagement by a factor of five relative to the legacy insurers. And we think that is just the start of the improvements we can effect to increase the quality and access of medical care.”

A Better DFW: “North Texas needs more early-stage capital, especially seed/A/B stage funds. Many entrepreneurs leave the state to get funding in California, which is ironic given the net population migration from California to Texas. When that funding gap persists, it leads to missed employment and economic growth for North Texas.”

Must-Read: “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. ‘Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?’ My other favorite scene is the pinchbug in church. The book has laugh-out-loud comedy, wry societal critiques, and reels you in with vivid characters and dialogue to hook you with the truth.”

Alternate Reality: “Were I not in healthcare, I’d be a history and physics teacher and coaching the swimming and track teams.”

Embarrassing Moment: “Returning from two weeks in a tribal region of India on an Emirates flight back to the U.S., I had a terrible case of intestinal distress. I asked the stewardess quietly for some anti-diarrhea pills, and she loudly announced, ‘You go now!’ while pointing to the toilets. The heads of every passenger craned and turned to look at me. Needless to say, that was embarrassing for me and hilarious to my wife (who was seated next to me).”

Bucket List: “I learned to play guitar.”

Future Forecast: “The healthcare industry is approximately 18 percent of U.S. GDP. Yet fax machines are still part of healthcare (Hello? 1980 is calling, and they want their fax machines back.). There are huge opportunities for improving the quality and cost of medical care with the adoption of modern data science, technology, and customer experiences.”

Author

Will Maddox

Will Maddox

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Will is the senior writer for D CEO magazine and the editor of D CEO Healthcare. He's written about healthcare…

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