McGee Medical Advocates
With a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University South Bend in Health Services Management and personal experience with healthcare billing, Nakisha Thompson-McGee founded McGee Medical Advocates (MMA), allowing her to guide others with her acquired knowledge.
McGee Medical Advocates provides group health and life insurance plans and education for small businesses, as well as options for self-employed individuals. In addition, MMA offers conflict claim resolution services. Nakisha added a service to McGee Medical that is not part of the insurance world. She facilitates group breaks where she educates teams how to leave home at home and work at work and how to build and sustain interpersonal communication and connections in the workplace.
“I am big on education,” Nakisha said. “I want to educate our community.”
She first became motivated to advocate for others in the medical system when, after securing safety and stability for herself and her three children, Nakisha found herself garnished to pay for her ex-husband’s unpaid medical bills. This came as a shock, since after the divorce was granted, she didn’t think there was still a legal and financial connection.
“What the heck?! How do I not go through this again, and how do I educate our community on the game of insurance,” she said. “Because it is a game.”
At the time, Nakisha was a patient care coordinator at one of the local hospitals. Because of her experience with the garnishment, she leaned in to learn more about the insurance industry to help patients and their families.
“What did the insurance terms actually mean to the patient and to the insurance company, because they are actually different things,” she said.
As she learned the ins and outs of the insurance industry, she put that knowledge to practice after her daughter suffered two concussions within a couple of months. Prioritizing her child’s medical care, Nakisha took a lower paying position at her daughter’s high school to get her foot in the door, later becoming a special education teacher. During this time, she was building the foundation for McGee Medical Advocates in her down time.
“When she graduated, I graduated from the school, too,” she said, laughing. “I went full force into McGee Medical, and I started taking different community courses.”
Nakisha participated in HustleSBE, a business bootcamp for Minority and Female business owners focused on exploring new solutions for their customers, generating new ideas, and shoring up current business practices to create a solid foundation upon which to grow. She also participated in the South Bend Entrepreneurship and Adversity Program through the University of Notre Dame, and the SPARK Business Accelerator, based out of Saint Mary’s College.
“I actually went through SPARK when I started at the high school, just to make sure I actually want to be in business for myself,” she said. “When I thought about starting my own business, I looked at the resources our there for women entrepreneurs. I just really meditated about it. I talked with God about it, but not with other people. And I watched. This door was opening up, and this door was opening.”
She keeps in touch with everyone from her HustleSBE cohort, and most enjoyed the connection and family unit of her class.
“It wasn’t just the course,” she said. “It was bringing us into the community.”
When McGee started, Nakisha became a licensed consultant through the Indiana Department of Insurance, but her end game was always to be the PECE provider for insurance.
“The PECE provider is Pre-Licensing, which is the P-E, and Continuing Education, which is the C-E,” she said. “The pre-licensing course was for anyone who wants to become a producer to take the course, and anybody that needed to keep their license needs the continuing education.”
As a consultant, Nakisha was unable to become a PECE provider. The law had changed since she entered the field, forcing her to become a producer. As she was beginning to delve into the requirements, Nakisha was hospitalized for what doctors initially thought could be a stroke. They found two causes to her health concerns – a thyroid condition and median arcuate ligament syndrome – or MALS. While she recovered, she reevaluated her business.
“What is my business model actually? Who is my market?” she said. “I had to change my business model totally, because as a consultant, you don’t get paid by the insurance company. You don’t even have an appointment with the insurance company. But now you’re going to have that. It took away my niche.”
She studied and became an accident, health, and life insurance broker. She is now a PE provider for the State of Indiana, and the leading PE provider for the region. Nakisha is now in the process of attaining the CE certification. She finds truly knowing herself is key to self-discipline and managing her business.
“I thought I was a disciplined person,” she said. “But going into business? You think I’m into business for myself – No, you actually work for other people. You work for the people you are servicing. It is highly important for me to know myself and what’s important for me. That self-discipline to move forward – it was how do I get that – for me – not just as a mom. I had it down pat as a mom. I did not have it down pat as Nakisha. Don’t look at the different roles you play outside of yourself, but who are YOU.”
As Nakisha built her business, she found the best way to utilize the area’s offerings for business, and found the best resources were people who shared knowledge and advice.
“Was it hard? Not so much as scary,” she said. “It was scary – and exciting. My ‘why’ has changed. First it was to leave my children with something. Now it’s for my freedom. I would tell anybody starting their own business to take their time and learn themselves.”