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David Holmberg to Lead Blues

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One of the major health insurer trade groups has picked a leader who’s heavily involved in the fight to get the federal government to pay its Affordable Care Act risk corridors program bills.

Members of the Chicago-based Blue Cross Blue Shield Association have named David Holmberg to be the association’s chairman.

(Related: Serota to Leave Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association CEO Post)

The association represents 36 separate organizations that have the rights to use the Blue Cross license, the Blue Shield license or both.

Holmberg is the president and chief executive officer of Highmark Inc. of Pittsburgh. Highmark is the parent of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield in Pittsburgh, and it also has Blue Cross Blue Shield subsidiaries in western Pennsylvania, West Virginia Delaware.

Holmberg succeeded Paul Markovich, the president of Blue Shield of California.

Holmberg is also on the board of another major health insurer group, America’s Health Insurance Plans.

Highmark is one of the carriers that has sold coverage through the Affordable Care Act public exchange plan. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told public exchange plan issuers that it would use cash from thriving issuers to help make up for losses or low earnings at struggling issuers. When payments from thriving issuers ran short, Republicans in Congress blocked HHS efforts to use other sources of funding to make the promised payments.

Highmark was one of the carriers that sued for payment.

(Related: Supreme Court to Hear Insurers’ Plea for $12B in ACA Program Payments)

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments on three related cases Tuesday. Highmark is not one of the carriers named as the parties in the oral arguments, but Highmark has supported the plaintiffs, and it has filed a friend of the court brief support the carriers.

The Blues’ Numbers

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s latest annual report available through the site, for 2017, shows that the association reported a $1.4 million loss for 2017 on $592 million in revenue and $728 million in assets.

The association had 1,542 employees.

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