We’re all experts.

If you’re frustrated by the complexity and cost of employee healthcare benefits…

If you want to offer your staff high-caliber coverage with lower premiums, not the other way around…

If you yearn for greater control of your practice, as well as your independence…

Join other leading physicians who are turning to our team for help.

We have
the experts
who can ease
your pain.

Larry Hightower

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Larry founded Vxtra to address the financial inequities, the lack of transparency, and the technology challenges associated with the fully-insured health benefits large, independent medical practices offered their employees. Believing he could leverage his experience and relationships with entrepreneurial physicians across the United States, Larry focused on creating new financial and technology-based solutions that would improve how large practices finance and manage their health benefits.

Prior to founding Vxtra, Larry spent more than three decades, moving multiple disruptive medical technologies and healthcare services from early stage concepts into service offerings that improved both clinical and economic outcomes.

He held key marketing roles in ophthalmology with the introduction of small incision cataract surgery (phacoemulsification) and intraocular lens implants, in urology with extracorporeal treatment of kidney stones (lithotripsy), in neurological surgery with the non-invasive treatment of inoperable brain tumors (the Gamma Knife), in cardiology with metabolic imaging of the heart (positron emission tomography), and in data mining for clinical trial recruitment and enrollment (DigitalDOCTOR.com / MDdatacor).

William E. Pritts, II

Chief Financial Officer

After rising through the ranks of Ernst & Young to become the Partner in Charge of Management Consulting for the Cleveland office, Bill acquired and grew Chi Corporation, a company that developed and sold PC to mainframe data communication products. Chi Corp was acquired by Digital Communications Associates (DCA), a $200M NYSE company. Bill transitioned to serve as the Chief Financial Officer of DCA until it was acquired by Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe and later merged with Attachmate Corporation.

Bill received his BS in Management Science from Case Institute of Technology, and has served as both a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Management Accountant.

As CFO of Vxtra, Bill is responsible for managing and reporting the company’s financial results as well as developing business forecasts that will meet Vxtra’s future financial requirements.

Elizabeth Gordon

Vice President of Operations

Elizabeth began her career in healthcare working in a large ophthalmology practice, where she worked directly with physicians to code and bill for complex surgeries and with patients to understand their health insurance.

Prior to joining Vxtra she was employed by Digital Insurance, a large national brokerage firm where she led a customer relations team that experienced the highest retention and customer satifaction scores in the company’s history.

In her role as Vice President of Operations, Elizabeth is responsible for managing the company’s operations team, providing analytical support to develop benefit plan design, funding rates, and renewal strategies. During the plan year, she provides plan performance metrics and analytics, as well as ACA and compliance support.

Elizabeth is a past board member for Atlanta Association of Health Underwriters (AAHU) and is a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU). She is certified by NAHU as a Self-Funding Professional.

Mark Meade

Manager, Underwriting & Risk Management

As a seasoned underwriter and risk manager for large, self-funded health plans, Mark oversees the development of rates and projections in conjunction with Vxtra’s insurance partners. He has experienced first-hand the evolution of self-funding and reinsurance as he developed financial and business models for both managed care organizations and large provider organizations. Mark brings 30 years’ experience working with private and public sector plans, insurance carriers and HMOs, lending them his expertise in such areas as rate setting, reinsurance, compliance and provider relations. He has developed financial and business models for both managed care organizations and large provider organizations. His expertise in assessing risk, mitigating loses and exposure has been key to aiding clients in maintaining financially sound programs. He has been called on as an expert witness in trials on rating and underwriting practices and has advised several state legislatures on the fiscal impact of pending legislation.

As a senior executive at Washington, D.C. Blue Cross he led the business unit that marketed and managed Association Plans. Following his tenure at Blue Cross, he ran the internal benefits and underwriting team for the 43-hospital Daughters of Charity National Health System. Mark is a past President of the Mid-Atlantic Business Group in Health, for which he continues to monitor and report on national and regional legislative activity.

A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Mark earned his BA in Economics and his MBA from George Washington University. He has attained the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) designation from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and Fellowship status from the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists.

Bret Hightower

Director of Business Development

Bret serves as Director of Business Development, working with our CEO and the Vice President of Operations team to continually optimize partner relationships and improve the overall program performance, while also focusing on captive membership growth.  Bret joined Vxtra in 2003, rising from client service representative to Senior Account Manager. In that role, Bret was responsible for servicing, marketing and renewing large medical practices in multiple states across the country.

Bret educates our prospective practices on the specific value of the self-funded captive platform, network considerations, Third-party administration options, Pharmacy Benefit Manager selection and plan design flexibility.  He guides the client through the process of collecting their claims data and how to best present the data to be underwritten by our stop-loss carrier, while educating the client on what levels of reinsurance are typically appropriate for the practice profile.

Once a group has been underwritten and is moving towards implementation Bret works closely with the Vice President of Operations to ensure a smooth transition to the Vxtra program.  When a group goes live the operations team and Bret make sure Finance, HR and employees are served from open enrollment to getting stop-loss claims filed and paid.  Member practices can typically also expect to see material improvement on the amount of data and regularity with which it is presented.

Emily Rathvon

Senior Healthcare Analyst

Emily began her career by creating and maintaining the online presence for a life insurance processor. In her role she created internal and external reports to assist senior management in decision-making.

Emily advanced her career by taking a quality assurance position with Digital Insurance, a large national brokerage firm. Emily expanded her reporting and data analytics skills, eventually becoming an account manager.

At Vxtra, Emily is responsible for building and managing the distribution of all performance reporting and managing the big data analytics deliverables for our clients.

Athenia Blomquist

Senior Account Manager

Athenia began her insurance career in 2009 working self-funded health benefits with a focus on customer service, claims assistance, explanation of benefits, COBRA, and all topics related to the appeals processes.

Athenia joined Digital Insurance as a customer advocate and was promoted to Benefits Consultant where she managed the renewal process, client education, and relationship management.

Athenia is a senior account manager at Vxtra, providing member services, claims resolution assistance and rapid resolution of other administrative issues.

Stephanie Kelly

Reporting & Data Management Specialist

Stephanie is responsible for preparing key reports for our clients in addition to assisting with any member service issues, including eligibility and enrollment questions.

In her role as Reporting and Management Specialist, Stephanie manages the submission of employee enrollments, terminations and changes received from clients direct to the carriers for processing, and facilitates any escalated eligibility-related service issues.

Carmen Michea

Client Services Manager

Carmen Michea is Vxtra Partners newest team member and Client Services Manager.  Carmen has served many years in the health insurance industry, including time spent as a customer advocate team member for a large broker with a national footprint. In this role she worked directly with employees to educate them on general benefit questions, claims, billing and enrollment issues.  Because of her strong leadership within the team and dedication to the clients she served, Carmen was promoted to manager of the Customer Advocate Center, where she built a foundation of best practices that created a personalized customer experience for the entire book of business.  Within a year under her guidance, the team’s service growth exceeded 230%, which became an essential and strategic differentiator for the broker – a service that not many can offer and successfully deliver upon year after year.  Because of her “service first” attitude, Carmen was nominated for The National Alliance’s “Outstanding Customer Service Representative of the Year” award on the national level and she was also awarded with the broker’s company-wide Leadership Award.

Carmen firmly believes that an educated customer equates to a satisfied customer and the only way for that to happen is to spend time learning about our clients and what makes them unique.  Being able to customize a service package for those unique needs is essential.  Besides, the more we can help our clients, the more time they can save, which is money saved.  Plain and simple.

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Bulgarelli provides clinical oversight for our operations team in addition to our strategic population health management counsel for our clients. 

A Fellow of the American College of Cardiology Dr. Bulgarelli completed his Internal Medicine Residency and Cardiology Fellowship at the Lankenau Hospital, a Jefferson Health affiliate in suburban Philadelphia.  In addition, in 2002 Dr. Bulgarelli was a member of the first graduate class of the Associate Fellowship in Integrative Medicine.

After working for 20+ years as a practicing cardiologist with one of the largest independent cardiology practices in southeastern Pennsylvania Dr. Bulgarelli formerly served as the National Medical Director for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield providing analytical and clinical support for population health initiatives with large, self-funded employers across the US. 

In order to remain current and to provide our team and our clients relevant counsel, he continues to serve as a hospital-based cardiologist in a Geisinger affiliated hospital in Harrisburg, PA.

We’re all experts.

If you’re frustrated by the complexity and cost of employee healthcare benefits…

If you want to offer your staff high-caliber coverage with lower premiums, not the other way around…

If you yearn for greater control of your practice, as well as your independence…

Join other leading physicians who are turning to our team for help.

We have the experts who can ease your pain.

Larry Hightower

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Larry founded Vxtra to address the financial inequities, the lack of transparency, and the technology challenges associated with the fully-insured health benefits large, independent medical practices offered their employees. Believing he could leverage his experience and relationships with entrepreneurial physicians across the United States, Larry focused on creating new financial and technology-based solutions that would improve how large practices finance and manage their health benefits.

Prior to founding Vxtra, Larry spent more than three decades, moving multiple disruptive medical technologies and healthcare services from early stage concepts into service offerings that improved both clinical and economic outcomes.

He held key marketing roles in ophthalmology with the introduction of small incision cataract surgery (phacoemulsification) and intraocular lens implants, in urology with extracorporeal treatment of kidney stones (lithotripsy), in neurological surgery with the non-invasive treatment of inoperable brain tumors (the Gamma Knife), in cardiology with metabolic imaging of the heart (positron emission tomography), and in data mining for clinical trial recruitment and enrollment (DigitalDOCTOR.com / MDdatacor).

William E. Pritts, II

Chief Financial Officer

After rising through the ranks of Ernst & Young to become the Partner in Charge of Management Consulting for the Cleveland office, Bill acquired and grew Chi Corporation, a company that developed and sold PC to mainframe data communication products. Chi Corp was acquired by Digital Communications Associates (DCA), a $200M NYSE company. Bill transitioned to serve as the Chief Financial Officer of DCA until it was acquired by Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe and later merged with Attachmate Corporation.

Bill received his BS in Management Science from Case Institute of Technology, and has served as both a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Management Accountant.

As CFO of Vxtra, Bill is responsible for managing and reporting the company’s financial results as well as developing business forecasts that will meet Vxtra’s future financial requirements.

Elizabeth Gordon

Vice President of Operations

Elizabeth began her career in healthcare working in a large ophthalmology practice, where she worked directly with physicians to code and bill for complex surgeries and with patients to understand their health insurance.

Prior to joining Vxtra she was employed by Digital Insurance, a large national brokerage firm where she led a customer relations team that experienced the highest retention and customer satifaction scores in the company’s history.

In her role as Vice President of Operations, Elizabeth is responsible for managing the company’s operations team, providing analytical support to develop benefit plan design, funding rates, and renewal strategies. During the plan year, she provides plan performance metrics and analytics, as well as ACA and compliance support.

Elizabeth is a past board member for Atlanta Association of Health Underwriters (AAHU) and is a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU). She is certified by NAHU as a Self-Funding Professional.

Mark Meads

Manager, Underwriting & Risk Management

As a seasoned underwriter and risk manager for large, self-funded health plans, Mark oversees the development of rates and projections in conjunction with Vxtra’s insurance partners. He has experienced first-hand the evolution of self-funding and reinsurance as he developed financial and business models for both managed care organizations and large provider organizations. Mark brings 30 years’ experience working with private and public sector plans, insurance carriers and HMOs, lending them his expertise in such areas as rate setting, reinsurance, compliance and provider relations. He has developed financial and business models for both managed care organizations and large provider organizations. His expertise in assessing risk, mitigating loses and exposure has been key to aiding clients in maintaining financially sound programs. He has been called on as an expert witness in trials on rating and underwriting practices and has advised several state legislatures on the fiscal impact of pending legislation.

As a senior executive at Washington, D.C. Blue Cross he led the business unit that marketed and managed Association Plans. Following his tenure at Blue Cross, he ran the internal benefits and underwriting team for the 43-hospital Daughters of Charity National Health System. Mark is a past President of the Mid-Atlantic Business Group in Health, for which he continues to monitor and report on national and regional legislative activity.

A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Mark earned his BA in Economics and his MBA from George Washington University. He has attained the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) designation from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and Fellowship status from the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists.

Bret Hightower

Director of Business Development

Bret serves as Director of Business Development, working with our CEO and select broker partners. Bret educates our broker partners on the more of the technical aspects of the quotes, captive, and data collection. He also works with our Vice President of Operations to facilitate implementations.

Bret joined Vxtra in 2003, rising from client service representative to Senior Account Manager. In that role, Bret was responsible for servicing, marketing and renewing large medical practices in multiple states across the country.

From 2012 to 2015, Bret served as a benefits consultant at Partners Benefit Group (PBG), bringing technology solutions to smaller broker agencies to help maintain and grow their book of business. He leveraged his experience working with independent medical practices to support the PBG partnership with Mag Mutual Financial, a leading physician medical malpractice carrier. He also serviced employers in different industries with a focus on companies with 100 employees. Those experiences benefit his business development role at Vxtra and enable him to partner effectively with the company’s prospective clients.

In his role as Directory of Business Development, Bret works with our prospect’s management team to facilitate knowledge regarding the technical aspects of securing quotes, data collection, and implementing a captive solution. He also works with the Vice President of Operations to facilitate new client implementations.

Emily Rathvon

Senior Healthcare Analyst

Emily began her career by creating and maintaining the online presence for a life insurance processor. In her role she created internal and external reports to assist senior management in decision-making.

Emily advanced her career by taking a quality assurance position with Digital Insurance, a large national brokerage firm. Emily expanded her reporting and data analytics skills, eventually becoming an account manager.

At Vxtra, Emily is responsible for building and managing the distribution of all performance reporting and managing the big data analytics deliverables for our clients.

Athenia Blomquist

Senior Account Manager

Athenia began her insurance career in 2009 working self-funded health benefits with a focus on customer service, claims assistance, explanation of benefits, COBRA, and all topics related to the appeals processes.

Athenia joined Digital Insurance as a customer advocate and was promoted to Benefits Consultant where she managed the renewal process, client education, and relationship management.

Athenia is a senior account manager at Vxtra, providing member services, claims resolution assistance and rapid resolution of other administrative issues.

Stephanie Kelly

Reporting & Data Management Specialist

Stephanie is responsible for preparing key reports for our clients in addition to assisting with any member service issues, including eligibility and enrollment questions.

In her role as Reporting and Management Specialist, Stephanie manages the submission of employee enrollments, terminations and changes received from clients direct to the carriers for processing, and facilitates any escalated eligibility-related service issues.

Carmen Michea

Client Services Manager

Carmen Michea is Vxtra Partners newest team member and Client Services Manager.  Carmen has served many years in the health insurance industry, including time spent as a customer advocate team member for a large broker with a national footprint. In this role she worked directly with employees to educate them on general benefit questions, claims, billing and enrollment issues.  Because of her strong leadership within the team and dedication to the clients she served, Carmen was promoted to manager of the Customer Advocate Center, where she built a foundation of best practices that created a personalized customer experience for the entire book of business.  Within a year under her guidance, the team’s service growth exceeded 230%, which became an essential and strategic differentiator for the broker – a service that not many can offer and successfully deliver upon year after year.  Because of her “service first” attitude, Carmen was nominated for The National Alliance’s “Outstanding Customer Service Representative of the Year” award on the national level and she was also awarded with the broker’s company-wide Leadership Award.

Carmen firmly believes that an educated customer equates to a satisfied customer and the only way for that to happen is to spend time learning about our clients and what makes them unique.  Being able to customize a service package for those unique needs is essential.  Besides, the more we can help our clients, the more time they can save, which is money saved.  Plain and simple.

Robert Bulgarelli, DO, FACC

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Bulgarelli provides clinical oversight for our operations team in addition to our strategic population health management counsel for our clients. 

A Fellow of the American College of Cardiology Dr. Bulgarelli completed his Internal Medicine Residency and Cardiology Fellowship at the Lankenau Hospital, a Jefferson Health affiliate in suburban Philadelphia.  In addition, in 2002 Dr. Bulgarelli was a member of the first graduate class of the Associate Fellowship in Integrative Medicine.

After working for 20+ years as a practicing cardiologist with one of the largest independent cardiology practices in southeastern Pennsylvania Dr. Bulgarelli formerly served as the National Medical Director for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield providing analytical and clinical support for population health initiatives with large, self-funded employers across the US. 

In order to remain current and to provide our team and our clients relevant counsel, he continues to serve as a hospital-based cardiologist in a Geisinger affiliated hospital in Harrisburg, PA.