Tag Archives: Highmark

Benefits Network and VCS Group Complete Consolidation

Benefits Network and Somerset-based VCS Group Inc. finalized the consolidation of the two businesses in July. As part of the transition, the VCS Group name changed to Benefits Network and Your Health Insurance Shop became a Benefits Network company continuing to serve the Medicare and individual health insurance markets.

Benefits Network President and CEO David Straight credited VCS Founder Glenn E. Miller, Jr. with spear-heading the smooth transition along with the Somerset staff who will continue to serve clients from the Somerset Office. With the consolidation, Benefits Network is now one of the leading brokers of UPMC and Highmark insurance products in the region.



PITTSBURGH (May 21, 2014) — The Board of Directors of Highmark Health today announced the appointment of David L. Holmberg as the company’s new President and Chief Executive Officer effective immediately. Mr. Holmberg, 55, who has been with the enterprise in senior business operations roles for seven years, succeeds William Winkenwerder, M.D. who served in the role since June 2012 and is leaving the company.

Highmark Health is comprised of Highmark Inc., which includes the Highmark Health Plan and Diversified Businesses, as well as the Allegheny Health Network. Highmark Health Plan is the ninth largest health insurance company in the U.S. with 5.2 million members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware. The Diversified Businesses unit is made up of HVHC Inc., including more than 620 Visionworks specialty optical retail stores as well as Davis Vision, the third largest U.S. managed vision care provider. It also includes United Concordia, the sixth largest dental insurance carrier in the U.S., and HM Insurance Group, a leading stop loss insurance provider. The Allegheny Health Network, formed in 2013, is a unified health care system comprised of eight hospitals with more than 1,000 employed physicians.

Mr. Holmberg has been a member of the senior executive team of Highmark Health since 2007 and has served in a number of increasingly significant operating roles within the enterprise. He has been President of Highmark Inc.’s Diversified Businesses since July 2013 as well as Chief Executive Officer of HVHC, Inc. and Chairman and CEO of Visionworks.

“David Holmberg is a seasoned business leader with a sharp focus on consumers and achieving results on behalf of customers, and I am pleased that he has agreed to accept our Board’s offer to become Highmark Health’s next President and CEO,” said J. Robert Baum, Ph.D., Chairman of Highmark Health’s Board of Directors. “This is a time of significant change across the health care marketplace, and David will be the right leader at the right time to accelerate the transformation of our organization. I anticipate that he will work in collaboration with our executive team to continue the implementation of our growth strategy and to diversify our organization regionally and nationally with a comprehensive portfolio of health solutions.”

“I want to thank Bill Winkenwerder for his service to our enterprise and our 38,000 employees. Bill joined us two years ago bringing his national reputation, high integrity and strategic vision. During his tenure, Highmark Health became an integrated health care delivery system by creating the Allegheny Health Network. We thank him for his dedicated service.”

Prior to joining Highmark in November 2007, Mr. Holmberg was the Executive Vice President for operations for Jo-Ann Stores, Inc., a leading national specialty retailer of crafting, decorating and sewing products. He also served as President of Cole Licensed Brands which encompassed more than 1,200 Sears Optical, Target Optical, BJ’s Wholesale Clubs, Pearle Vision Canada and Sears Optical Canada stores. He previously held several key management positions at Zales Corporation. Mr. Holmberg received his MBA from the University of Texas at Dallas and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

“I am deeply gratified by the Board’s decision to appoint me as Highmark Health’s next President and CEO,” said David Holmberg. “Since joining the enterprise in 2007, I have worked with my colleagues on the executive team and in the Diversified Businesses to innovate and create products and services that meet the evolving needs of our customers. Highmark Health and its businesses have momentum and a strategy for continued future growth. I view my role as CEO as creating a culture focused on the needs of our customers, continuing to improve our operating fundamentals, and implementing and accelerating our transformation into a nationally recognized integrated health care delivery system.”

Pending final board approval, the following changes will take place in the Diversified Business companies in light of Mr. Holmberg’s promotion. James Eisen, currently President of Visionworks, will be appointed co-CEO of HVHC, assuming the additional responsibility for manufacturing, distribution and professional services. Michael Sullivan, currently President of HM Insurance Group, will be appointed co-CEO of HVHC, as well as CEO of HM Insurance Group and CEO of United Concordia Dental. Mr. Eisen and Mr. Sullivan will join the senior leadership team of Highmark Health and report directly to Mr. Holmberg. Additionally, Matthew Rhenish, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Marketing for HM Insurance Group will become HM Insurance Group’s President, reporting to Mr. Sullivan.

Highmark Announces Small Employer Clients Can Keep Existing Health Insurance Coverage

Almost 200,000 people stand to benefit as Highmark Inc. announced April 24 that small employer business clients will be able to keep their current health insurance plans. This means customers with renewal dates between July and December 2014 will be able to delay for at least another year having to enroll in potentially costlier health plans that reflect new 2014 requirements of the Affordable Care Act. 

“Highmark appreciates the crucial role that small businesses play, serving as the backbone of the communities we serve,” said Deborah Rice-Johnson, president of Highmark Health Plan. “Enabling these small employer customers to stick with their current plans reflects our commitment to work with these important clients so that we can continue to provide affordable health coverage for their employees.”

The federal government announced last month that health insurers — with approval from their state insurance commissioners — could offer small employer customers the option to renew existing plans beyond 2014. The Pennsylvania Insurance Department subsequently said it was up to individual insurers to decide if they want to offer existing clients the option to renew their pre-Affordable Care Act plans.

“We expect the majority of our small employer clients to stay with their current plans, but Highmark offers a wide variety of plans that are compliant with the Affordable Care Act and meet the needs of our members,” said Rice-Johnson. “Some of these plans are built on a broad network and some are built on our Community Blue network, where members have a greater opportunity for cost savings when they use a select network of high-quality, lower-cost providers. But at this time, we understand that it may make sense for some of our small employer customers to stay with their current plans. We are offering them greater choice by giving them the option to stay in those plans.”

Whether small employer businesses choose to renew their current plans or opt to purchase new plans that reflect new 2014 requirements of the Affordable Care Act, renewal rates will vary based on the insured group.