After 10 years of serving as chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, George Halvorson announced that he will retire December 2013.

During his tenure, Halvorson spearheaded the decision to implement Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect, an enterprise-wide electronic health record system, a decade ago. In the first six months of 2012, members securely viewed 16.7 million laboratory results, exchanged 6.8 million emails with their Kaiser Permanente caregivers and refilled 5.6 million prescriptions online.

Earlier this year, Halvorson was named No. 6 on Modern Healthcare’s annual 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare list. He has been named to each of Modern Healthcare’s 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare lists since the program was created. He has received the Modern Healthcare/Health Information and Management Systems Society CEO IT Achievement Award. The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange also awarded him the 2009 Louis Sullivan Award for leadership and achievements in advancing health care quality.

Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente, Halvorson was president and chief executive officer of HealthPartners for nearly 18 years. With more than 30 years of health care management experience, he has also held several senior management positions with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and Health Accord International.

In his time, Kaiser Permanente received the following honors:

  • Earned top ranking in the 2012-2013 National Committee for Quality Assurance Health Insurance rankings for Medicare and commercial HMO plans in each of the states Kaiser Permanente serves;
  • Led the nation in several NCQA Quality Compass effectiveness of care measures, including breast cancer screening, weight assessment for children, cholesterol management, asthma care, osteoporosis management and comprehensive diabetes care;
  • Had 20 hospitals recognized as “Top Performers on Key Quality Measures” for 2011 performance by The Joint Commission;
  • Received five-star ratings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for five Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage plans in 2012;
  • Ranked highest by J.D. Power and Associates for employer satisfaction nationwide, and five regions ranked highest in member satisfaction.

Halvorson serves on the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care, the IOM Task Force on Making America a Learning Health Care Organization, the American Hospital Association’s Advisory Committee on Health Reform, the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High-Performance Health System, and the New America Foundation Leadership Council. He serves on the boards of the National Committee for Quality Assurance, America’s Health Insurance Plans, and the Alliance of Community Health Plans. Halvorson chairs the International Federation of Health Plans and co-chaired the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care for 2010. He is the 2012 social media chair for the Global Health Policy Forum. In 2009, he chaired the World Economic Forum’s Health Governors meetings in Davos, Switzerland.

In other industry news:

The Phoenix Companies, Inc. (NYSE:PNX) made enhancements to its CommandMark single premium fixed indexed annuity series. The new series offers riders, for an additional fee, that can provide consumers with guaranteed lifetime income, the possibility of increasing that income if there is a chronic care need and an enhanced death benefit.

The series is comprised of three base products: CommandMark, CommandMark Plus and CommandMark IR. The three vary by premium bonus level, duration of the surrender charge and premium bonus vesting period. In addition, the series offers additional riders, including the Income Command Rider 2.0 Enhanced, which provides a Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB) and enhanced chronic care benefit, and the Heritage Rider, which provides an enhanced death benefit.

In states where available, the Income Command Rider 2.0 Enhanced offers a guaranteed lifetime income stream. The income base from which guarantees are derived will increase at a compound roll up rate of 10 percent on CommandMark, and 6.5 percent on CommandMark Plus and CommandMark IR during the guaranteed income accumulation period. In addition, the rider can provide an enhanced income stream equal to double the standard GLWB for up to five years in the event the annuity holder becomes confined to a nursing facility.

The optional Heritage Rider must be purchased in combination with the Income Command Rider 2.0 Enhanced and may offer a death benefit in excess of the annuity value. The benefit provided by the Heritage Rider becomes available after the third contract anniversary and is equal to 50 percent of the difference between the base contract’s annuity value and the income base under the Income Command Rider 2.0 Enhanced during the guaranteed income accumulation period. After the GLWB rider exercise date, the enhanced death benefit is reduced by withdrawals in the same proportion as the annuity value is reduced.

The latest innovations are offered exclusively through the company’s partnership with Legacy Marketing Group.

 

The Principal Financial Group unveiled a new suite of separate accounts that make it easier for defined benefit plans of all sizes to implement an LDI strategy. The Principal LDI Separate Accounts are a line-up of four fixed-income investment options of varying durations that can be combined to match the duration of a plan’s liabilities.

“Until now, sponsors of small and medium-sized defined benefit plans and their financial professionals have struggled to implement an LDI strategy because typically only the largest plans had enough fixed income assets to create the customized bond portfolio needed to match the duration of a plan’s liabilities,” said Janet Kubik, vice president of retirement and investor services at The Principal, the number one provider of defined benefit plans. “The Principal LDI Separate Accounts provide fixed income investment options of varying durations that can be combined together so all sizes of defined benefit plans can use LDI strategies.”

Each of the Principal LDI Separate Accounts offers financial professionals and their defined benefit clients a distinct duration band and an emphasis on corporate bonds.

 

Petersen International Underwriters released a new model of its Pilot Disability Insurance plan. The biggest enhancement includes a lump sum benefit option for permanent loss of license, which is available as a stand-alone plan or in conjunction with a monthly benefit plan.

“In the past, a prescription of benefits available to pilots would be a plan that would replace 65% of income for a period of up to 60 months. With this new feature, if a pilot does not recover and the disability is deemed to be permanent, then a lump sum benefit of as much as $1,000,000 is available,” explained Mark Petersen, vice president of Marketing for Petersen.

Customer engagement firm KBM Group entered a strategic partnership with Distribion, a provider of on-demand, Web-based, multi-channel marketing automation solutions for distributed marketing organizations.

The agreement augments KBM Group’s technology- and data-based marketing solution suite and extends it to local field sales to enable centrally managed, strategic marketing, including campaign management, implementation, and measurement across a distributed network of agents.

Designed for regulated industries such as insurance, healthcare and finance, Distribion’s multi-channel, distributed marketing data management platform complements and strengthens KBM Group’s established position in the healthcare and insurance industries. KBM Group’s solutions span a spectrum of products and services that includes data; advanced analytics to derive customer intelligence; data management; strategic consulting; campaign management; and marketing outsourcing.

 

Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services selected MassMutual‘s Retirement Services Division as the new provider for its 403(b) retirement plan, serving more than 230 participants.

Headquartered in Elizabeth, N.J., Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services, Inc. is a psychiatric rehabilitation service agency providing assistance for residents of Central and Northern N.J. who have experienced psychiatric disabilities. Persons receiving services at Bridgeway are offered a wide range of vocational, educational, living and social opportunities to assist them to improve their skills, self-esteem, and sense of belonging to the larger community.