In college, Tracy Bos worked in a call center for an auto and home insurance company. She answered calls from customers who had experienced highly stressful events like car accidents, house floods, and fires. She would take their information, provide some peace of mind, and help them with their next steps, like finding a rental car, hiring a contractor to clean up a flooded basement, or getting a hotel room.
Through this work, Bos found her passion for helping others navigate life’s challenges.
“I discovered how powerful it felt to be there for people in their time of need,” she explains.
Bos, who eventually transitioned from auto and home insurance to healthcare, applies that same passion to her work as Premera’s Vice President and General Manager for Medicare Markets.
In a recent interview, we asked Tracy to tell us about what drew her to healthcare, what excites her about her work, and her thoughts on what makes a great leader.
Q: Please tell us about your role at Premera.
A: I am responsible for Premera’s Medicare lines of business. My team produces our Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplement plans that provide healthcare coverage for people over age 65 in Washington and Alaska.
Q: You began your career in auto and home insurance. What prompted your move to healthcare insurance?
A: When I moved to Premera, I was interested in what I saw as the next level – taking everything I had learned in the auto and home insurance world and applying it to something extraordinarily important and personal – people’s health. It’s very important for me to be a part of something I really believe in, and helping people solve their healthcare concerns and manage through their healthcare journey really resonated with me.
Q: What opportunities in healthcare are you most excited about?
A: Medicare members are such an important population and they have unique needs. As the baby boomer population ages, they may be faced with not only caring for themselves, but caring for their older parents, and oftentimes their children as well. There is a lot of complexity in their lives.
The older people get, the more important it is that they have access to affordable, high-quality care that also provides advocacy for them. I interact with a lot of people who are over 65 and navigating healthcare, in many cases, for the first time. As you age, things start to happen, health-wise. And in every conversation I recognize a feeling of confusion and not knowing where to turn or who to turn to. And all they really want is just to feel better. This population has given so much and still have so much left to give. Wouldn’t it be great if we could take away the pain, frustration, and anxiety associated with navigating healthcare?
I have a real passion for people achieving their potential—in work and in life. The beauty of my work is that the healthcare programs and solutions we offer have the potential to help people live their lives more fully and fulfill their potential.
Q: You are in a leadership role at Premera. What do you believe are important traits in an effective leader?
A: As leaders, it is important that we give voice to others who often don’t have the opportunity to be heard. We need to listen to people with different experiences and different points of view. When given the opportunity to be part of a solution, people rise to the occasion. Imagine what it would be like if we had all voices at the table.
Being a good leader also requires strong relationship-building skills. It isn’t just about meeting performance targets. It’s also about building trust and loyalty among the people you work with.
Q: What is some of the best advice you’ve received in your career?
A: It’s not the wins that set you apart. It’s the things that don’t go the way you want them to go. Maybe it’s the promotion you didn’t get that you thought was a sure thing, or your team not achieving the results you were aiming for. Whatever the situation, it’s how you show up after a disappointment that distinguishes you and sets you apart. Always look for what you can learn from your experiences and apply those lessons to something new.