Lyft hires former UnitedHealthcare VP to lead health policy

Nicole Cooper, a former vice president at UnitedHealthcare and HHS policy adviser, this week joined Lyft as head of healthcare policy.

Cooper will develop the ride-sharing company’s national and state healthcare policy agenda, with an emphasis on its non-emergency medical transportation efforts.

In addition to working with CMS and state agencies, Cooper will also work on the company’s initiatives targeting healthcare disparities.

Meghan Callahan, who joined Lyft in 2018 from Change Healthcare, will remain the company’s vice president of healthcare.

Lyft’s healthcare strategy over the past year has included a focus on working with state Medicaid programs to make the company’s ride-sharing services a covered option for beneficiaries in need of transportation to non-emergency medical appointments. Today, Lyft is covered for eligible Medicaid beneficiaries in 14 states and Washington, D.C., according to a Lyft spokesperson.

Cooper most recently was vice president of corporate social responsibility at insurer UnitedHealthcare.

During the Obama administration, Cooper served as a policy adviser to the chief of staff at CMS and the deputy assistant secretary for minority health.

Lyft and its main competitor, Uber, have been pushing into the healthcare industry with similar strategies, beginning with a focus on providing patients with free or affordable rides to non-emergency medical appointments. Both companies offer covered rides to Medicaid beneficiaries in some states and boast major partnerships with non-emergency medical transportation providers, health insurers and electronic health record companies.

Lyft, which went public in March 2019, posted $955.7 million in revenue for 2020’s first quarter, up 23% year-over-year.

Its net loss for the quarter was $398.1 million, compared to $1.1 billion during the same period in 2019.

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