As Demand for HRAs Surges, Dallas-Based Take Command Health Grows its Team and Closes Fundraising

In response to an increased interest in health reimbursement arrangements as companies shift from employer-sponsored health insurance, health tech startup Take Command is growing—fast.

Take Command Health, the Dallas-based health reimbursement arrangement administrator, is ramping up its growth with some big moves.

On the heels of a successful funding round, Take Command announced that it’s adding ten new employees—in strategy, development, compliance, and sales—to its team.

Samantha Darnell, a well-known thought leader in the healthcare space, joins Take Command as its director of strategy. The company said she brings a valuable background in consulting and healthcare, along with a passion for team building.

Leslie Morey, Shanna Richardson, Christina Roberts, and Matt Hand have been brought on compliance specialists. Their role will be to review employee insurance and claims to ensure they’re within their specific HRA standards. Elise Hobbs is the new client success specialist, in which she will help onboard and elevate the customer experience.

Also new to the team are front-end developers Lexa Wong and Sunny Singh, operations manager Anna Dalton, and Tanner Dobbs as growth lead.

“Build your company with the right people,” CEO Jack Hooper told Dallas Innovates. “Challenges and adversity will come, having a team that’ll stick it out, dig in, and get scrappy and come out the other side stronger is a must.”

Take Command, as a leader in QSEHRA administration and a proponent of the new Individual Coverage HRA, is on the forefront of an increased interest in health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).

The boost comes at a time when companies are starting to move away from employer-sponsored health insurance to more predictable, affordable, and flexible benefits solutions. That shift is Take Command’s specialty: The company launched in 2014 to bring awareness, advocacy, and transparency to the wide world of health insurance.

“Everyone loves graphs and projections that curve up and to the right,” Hooper says. “The projections are easy to make, but getting up that curve definitely feels ‘uphill,’ which is how I would characterize our growth.”

ICHRA is known as the recently created individual coverage HRA that’s currently shaking up the benefits market. Darnell calls it a huge innovation in the health insurance space—she says Take Command is “really excited about bringing technical, process, and partnership innovation to this new concept to create a really unique product offering.”


Samantha Darnell is Take Command’s new director of strategy. [Photo: Take Command Health]

Take Command has been able to bundle its private exchange with the ICHRA and QSEHRA offerings to maximize the individual insurance buying process and get folks into the right plan for them and their families.

“We are seeing a lot of folks wanting to offer health benefits to their employees but struggling with the unpredictable nature of the cost of small group health plans—ICHRA is a great way to resolve this problem because it allows for a defined contribution instead of a defined benefit,” Darnell told us.

The shift is especially timely with the COVID-19 pandemic. Take Command has started to see employers looking to reduce hours or change or change employee classifications, but still not wanting to offer some benefits to employees.

“ICHRA provides employers with a lot of flexibility in this space and allows the employer to define the employee classes which has really helped in this season,” Darnell says.

Additionally, the 401(K)-style model has proven to be a “valuable ally” for businesses that are weathering the economic fallout from COVID-19, according to Take Command.

“As terrible as coronavirus is, it has a potential to be a catalyst for innovative health insurance models like ours,” Hooper says. “We hurt when our clients and their businesses hurt, but we can also offer them an alternative that’s more flexible and cost effective and more sustainable for them to build on as they reopen and rehire employees.”

From here, the team is extremely future-forward.

Health insurance is not only an ever evolving arena, it’s also a hot topic politically, Darnell says. But the Take Command sees changing regulations as a time to innovate.

“We think this is great, it gives us all an opportunity to address many of the broken aspects of our healthcare system but it also keeps us on our toes,” she says. “Ensuring that regulations grow and evolve in a way that helps employers and employees is undoubtedly our biggest challenge (but we feel up to it!).”

Hooper believes his team is uniquely positioned to lead the change. His band of “health insurance nerds,” who all have experience in the space, are dedicated, but he acknowledges that there’s a delicate balance between being sensitive to evolving market conditions and focusing on what you know.

That’s still being mastered—so the team works extra hard.

“Culture evolves more organically and starts with the people you hire and the way you lead your team,” he says. “I’m grateful that a phenomenal culture has evolved at Take Command Health—where we’re willing to make mistakes, get our hands dirty, test and learn, and support each other. Coronavirus prevents us from seeing each other regularly, but thankfully the culture and productivity remains because what was built before.”

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