UnitedHealthcare’s Marc Neely blends risk-taking, trust and compassion in Colorado
People tend to look a little sad when Marc Neely tells them he lived in eight different cities before finishing high school — but he sees things differently. He believes the experience gave him an advantage in life and in business.
“It taught me to stay humble and get comfortable with being the first one in a new friendship to offer trust,” Marc said. “I learned how to go deep with people, pretty fast.”
Those risk-taking and trust-building skills, forged early in life, are the same ones that he relies on daily as CEO of UnitedHealthcare’s commercial health plans in Colorado and Wyoming.
Beth Soberg, Marc’s predecessor, hired him in 2016 recognizing that he could become her successor someday. He took over when Beth moved to a new corporate role with UnitedHealth Group in 2018.
“Marc has led with a lot of courage,” Beth said. “He’s not shied away from what he believes is best for the Colorado market.”
People outside of his own company see Marc as an easy going, congenial guy, said Mark Olson, senior vice president of large group sales at UnitedHealthcare Colorado and Wyoming.
“But he has an edge,” Mark says. “Those of us who work with him day-to-day know that Marc is uber-competitive. He expects a high level of dedication from his team, outstanding performance and a willingness to go above and beyond.”
Yet if you rise to those expectations, Mark says, “You know he always has your back.”
Grant Snyder, vice president of small group sales for Colorado and Wyoming, concurs. In sales, accounts come and go over time. How a leader reacts in moments of disappointment makes a real impact on the team and culture.
“Marc stays very level-headed, empathetic and compassionate with his team, who already feel terrible because they just lost an important account,” Grant says. “It’s impressive.”
Marc encourages everyone to do service work whenever possible and where there’s a need he believes UnitedHealthcare can support, he fully commits.
“Marc encourages us to be active because giving is in his DNA,” Grant says. “It also ties back to our mission as a company to help people live healthier lives and to simplify the health care system for everyone."
Under Marc’s leadership, the Colorado plan has taken a special interest in causes that support children living active and healthy lives. For example, UnitedHealthcare has made a commitment to provide $10,000 in winter coat donations each fall plus $10,000 in bicycles and helmets each spring to underprivileged kids, partnering with local school systems and players from the Denver Broncos.
He’s also a strong supporter of the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF), which provides families with medical grants to pay out-of-pocket costs for their children’s health needs not covered by their commercial health plan, no matter which carrier they have. In May 2019, he spearheaded a local event for the Foundation that raised over $80,000 in grant money for UHCCF.
“We here at UnitedHealthcare get so much more out of the experience of giving our time than, for example, the kids do in receiving the bikes,” Marc says. “It’s a joy and an absolute blast. And to think we get to do that as representatives of UnitedHealthcare … that’s pretty amazing.”