Chat with Snezhana Mahon at Transcarent

Snezhana Mahon first contacted me when we were both involved in an email from our HOA board about a community project. She had seen me interview a colleague of hers at the 2021 Forbes Healthcare Summit and wanted to welcome me to the neighborhood by asking me out for coffee. In the world of high-powered women, this was the equivalent of delivering freshly baked muffins.

Snezhana is COO at Transcarent, an emerging health and care experience company valued at $1.6 billion as of January 2022. With years of leadership experience in the pharmacy industry, she is well positioned to lead the recent launch of the company of Transcarent Pharmacy care.

At the same time, she’s also a stay-at-home mom who cooks for her family before she leaves town for the week and invites her neighbors over for dinner on the weekends. When she and her family welcomed us around Easter, I walked into an immaculate house with stuffed pastel bunnies greeting us at the entrance and baskets of eggs above the mantle. She is endlessly generous with her presentations and always finds time to answer questions and give advice.

Snezhana joined me on my living room couch for coffee on a rainy Sunday morning in sneakers and a sweater to share her passions around work, life, and her commitment to supporting women in healthcare.

Why did you decide to join Transcarent after so many successful years at Express Scripts?

Last Friday was my 1 year anniversary with Transcarent and I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection. I am a pharmacist by training, spent several years in retail and then 13 years at Express Scripts. What drives me as a clinician is the user experience, which is not very good today. I remember standing as a pharmacist behind the counter and having patients ask me “why does it cost so much?” “How does it work?” “I’m not sure how this works” or “Why won’t my insurance pay for this?” Leaving the trading environment of retail and went to a pharmacy manager, thinking I could solve the problems patients were telling me at the pharmacy counter.

After spending over a decade trying to redesign and fix some of the cost models, it still doesn’t work right. So when Glenn Tullman called me and told me he was building Transcarent to bring transparency and empowerment to consumers, that was the mission that called to me, the same one I’ve been chasing since the day I became a pharmacist. We haven’t fixed the root cause and we’ve really listened to the user. While I love the company and the legacy it left behind, now that I’ve gotten to know the fledgling community, I can really see the impact we can have when you design care solutions with the consumer at the center.

What does Transcarent do?

Transcarent is reshaping the health and care experience that today’s consumers expect and demand. Healthcare has become more expensive, complicated and confusing than ever, and it’s not getting any better. At Transcarent we make care more transparent and empower the consumer by providing better outcomes at more affordable prices for both our member and the employer who often pays for that care.

We believe that technology can provide better care for the user. Companies like Airbnb and Travelocity use technology to bring users closer to the host or virtual travel agent. We use technology to enable our members to get closer to care providers and remove the administrative friction in the middle. Just because you have an insurance card doesn’t mean you have access to care, and it doesn’t mean you have access to high-quality care.

Right now, as a health care consumer, when you call the back of your insurance card, you have no idea what’s next. Your doctor has just told you that you have a new condition or need a procedure and you don’t know where to go or how much it will cost. We use technology to provide reliable information to our members. We enable them to chat with a doctor within 60 seconds, schedule real-time appointments with local providers, or look up cost information, whether it’s on the drug or medical side. We also provide direct call access to our health guides who are at the center of the care experience. A dedicated care advocate is just a text, chat or call away 24/7 right in the palm of your hand.

Transcarent recently announced the launch of a pharmacy service. Can you tell me about it?

First, we offer a pharmacy marketplace where our member can shop for drugs at pharmacies and see the best price for their co-pay, cash or coupons. And not only in retail pharmacies, but also in virtual and home delivery pharmacies such as The Mark Cuban Cost Plus, Walmart or Ro pharmacy. Second, we deliver better clinical care with an immersive and clinically integrated experience across medical and pharmaceutical targets. And third, we develop true value-based care contracts with employers that are based on outcomes and value and offer 100% transparency.

What do you think about big tech vs. big healthcare?

In healthcare, we have not yet addressed the consumer aspect, which makes it ripe for competition. Amazons, Googles, and other big consumer-focused companies are trying to get into healthcare. The struggle is that you have to know about healthcare to fix healthcare, and you have to take a user-centric approach to using technology. Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical is one example of healthcare mega-companies combining with consumer-facing mega-companies. The key to any of these mergers will be effective integration that will determine their success.

How do you stay present for the people in your life while excelling as the COO of a startup?

First, my dad always told me that to succeed in life, you need to find the right partner and establish ground rules for how you will go through life together. When I met my husband, John, I knew that when we had children I would continue to work and that this would require an equal distribution of domestic responsibilities in the life we ​​would build together. We just celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary last week. So much of my career development and success is due to his support and advocacy. And it hasn’t always been easy to juggle work priorities, as he himself is a very successful lawyer and partner in a law firm. Second, I rely heavily on family and friends for support. It takes a village to raise children. We always say that we couldn’t have gotten to where we both are today in our careers if it wasn’t for the help of my mom, who is the ultimate caretaker and super grandma. Our kids play soccer, baseball, basketball, etc. and we often rely on family, friends and neighbors to get the kids where they need to go. Third, I ask myself, in general, in this month, quarter, year, was I balanced enough? Was I there for the most critical things with the kids, spouse, family, friends? For me, it’s that overall balance. It’s not easy; I can tell you that.

Do you think women “can have it all?”

Absolutely. The reason I keep doing what I do is for my kids, especially to show my daughter that she can do anything. I can’t tell you how many Sunday nights when I’m packing my bag to get on the plane the next morning and she says, “Mom, when I grow up, can I have this jacket so I can give a presentation like you?” And I tell her, “You can do anything you want. If you want to be a lawyer or an engineer or a technology developer, or if you want to give amazing presentations to inspire other women, you can do it and the opportunity will be there for you.” When she says, “Other moms don’t travel as much” , I tell her that “Moms can and do travel.”

I want to inspire other young pharmacists. I never thought that as someone who started out as a retail pharmacist at Walgreens, I would be doing what I am doing now. I believe women can have anything, you just have to love what you do, believe in yourself and surround yourself with a supportive ecosystem.

How do you encourage women at Transcarent?

When I think specifically about the amazing women at Transcarent, we have women on our executive leadership team, including CFO, general counsel, chief of staff. We have women managing digital products, UX design and operations. Even on the technology development side, we specifically hire women. It’s a testament to our CEO and our board that they strongly believe and encourage that women should have a seat at the table. We continue to strive for diversity of thought, background, experience across the company and it’s great to be part of an organization that supports and empowers women.

Anything else you’d like to share with readers looking to follow similar paths?

I tell young women all the time to always be yourself and put your whole self into everything you do. Huge opportunities opened up because I was curious, because I asked a lot of questions, because I was vocal. When I look back on my career, I took chances and said yes to every opportunity that came my way. For example, I didn’t have a lot of Medicare experience when I started at Medicare Advantage, but I jumped in and learned a lot. The next call came to start an integration and I didn’t have much integration experience. And then I thought, should I take on this new role? But looking back, I’m so glad I did. Be open and take risks. Complacency is the biggest obstacle to success. Don’t get comfortable. Be uncomfortable. If you are not uncomfortable, you are not growing, you are not developing.

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