HealthNow names new CEO

HealthNow New York today named David W. Anderson, the top executive at a Southern California health insurer, as its new president and chief executive officer, succeeding the retiring Alphonso O’Neil-White at the helm of the Buffalo Niagara region’s largest health insurance company.

Anderson, 59, will take the reins at HealthNow on July 31 after being selected to lead the health insurer following a five-month search to find a successor for O’Neil-White, who announced his plans to retire in February after 10 years as its chief executive officer – the longest tenure of any CEO in the company’s 76-year history.

Anderson joins HealthNow from UnitedHealthcare’s Southern California Health Plan, where he spent the last seven years as chief executive officer. During his tenure there, Anderson inherited a plan that, in 2008, was plagued by membership losses and weakening financial performance, and took steps to stabilize membership and improve the plan’s operating profits.

At Southern California Health Plan, which has 868,000 members and about $3 billion in revenues, operating profits jumped by 43 percent from 2010 to 2012, while employee engagement ratings improved from the lowest among all of United Healthcare’s plans to the highest during Anderson’s tenure.

“Our board set out to find the best possible CEO for HealthNow and we’re certain we did,” Thomas J. Hook, HealthNow’s chairman, said in a statement. “David will impress our markets with his health care experience, the communities we serve with his Midwest values and work ethic, and our members with how we will all manage the change that’s coming in American health care.”

HealthNow, with more than 800,000 members and $2.5 billion in revenues last year, is slightly smaller than the Southern California health Plan.

“HealthNow’s expanding footprint and our market strength in Western New York gives us stability and resources for the coming health care changes,” Anderson said in a statement.

Anderson, a native of Fort Wayne, Ind., started in the health care industry in 1980 as a broker, following his graduation from Indiana University. He was president of Health Net Dental and Vision Cos. from 2000 to 2002; senior vice president for PPO products at Health Net Life Insurance Co. from 2001 to 2003; and senior vice president and chief sales officer for Health Net of California from 2003 to 2006.

Anderson was hired after a search process that considered “hundreds of applicants and recruits,” including internal candidates, Hook said.

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