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New Jersey's Blue Cross Carrier Names a New CEO

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Yet another major health insurer is getting a new chief executive officer.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey says Kevin Conlin will succeed Robert Marino as its CEO Jan. 1.

Marino has been the nonprofit Newark, New Jersey-based health insurer’s president and CEO since March 2011, and its chairman since March 2012. 

(Related: Marino Takes Reins at New Jersey Blue)

Conlin, who has been Horizon’s chief operating officer since 2016, will start out as the company’s chairman as well as its president and CEO.

In the past few months, new CEOs have taken the reins at a number of other health insurers, including Anthem Inc., Molina Healthcare Inc. and UnitedHealth Group Inc.

Marino has been working in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield system for more than 40 years, and Horizon noted that the company’s performance has been strong.

The company generated $12 billion in 2016. It’s providing or administering major medical coverage for 3.8 million, and providing or administering other forms of health coverage for many other people.

The company has earned and maintained an ‘A’ credit rating from Standard & Poor’s, in spite of the upheaval associated with rising health care costs and the Affordable Care Act.

This summer, Marino fought off efforts by state lawmakers to use some of Horizon’s reserves to pay for efforts to prevent and treat opioid abuse. 

Marino said in a statement that it has been a privilege to lead Horizon.

Horizon said Conlin has shown his leadership skills in the effort to shift Horizon toward value-based provider contracts, and away from fee-for-service reimbursement arrangements.

Conlin has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Rutgers University, and a master’s degree in health administration from Duke University.

Before Conlin began working for Horizon, in 2012, he worked as an executive vice president at Coventry Healthcare, a managed care company, and as CEO of Via Christi Health, a large, Kansas-based hospital and physician services organization.

Correction: An earlier version of this article described Robert Marino’s career incorrectly. He has worked in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield system for more than 40 years. He started his career at Horizon, left to work at the Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan in New York, then began his second stint at Horizon in 1997. The article also described the role of Tom Bracken, who was in a previous version of this article, incorrectly. Bracken is a member of the community.

—Read 3 Facts About Anthem’s New Boss on ThinkAdvisor.

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