AHIP’s Ig­nagni mov­ing to head up trou­bled N.Y. in­surer

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS - —Bob Her­man

Karen Ig­nagni, 61, the long­time head of Amer­ica’s Health In­sur­ance Plans, is leav­ing the in­dus­try’s pow­er­ful lob­by­ing group to be­come pres­i­dent and CEO of Em­blemHealth, a fi­nan­cially trou­bled in­surer based in New York.

She will re­place Frank Bran­chini, ef­fec­tive Sept. 1. Bran­chini has been with Em­blemHealth and its pre­de­ces­sor com­pa­nies for 30 years.

Ip­sita Smolin­ski, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Wash­ing­ton-based health­care con­sult­ing firm Capitol Street, said Ig­nagni’s de­par­ture from AHIP was “a shock” to the health pol­icy com­mu­nity in Wash­ing­ton.

Dan Durham, AHIP’s ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent, will serve as the group’s in­terim CEO. Spec­u­la­tion has swirled that a for­mer mem­ber of Congress could take Ig­nagni’s place.

Ig­nagni, who made $2.03 mil­lion in 2013, is the third ma­jor trade as­so­ci­a­tion CEO to an­nounce plans to leave this year. Amer­i­can Hos­pi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion CEO Richard Umb­den­stock is re­tir­ing at the end of 2015, with Rick Pol­lack tak­ing his place. John Castel­lani, CEO of the Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Re­search and Man­u­fac­tur­ers of Amer­ica, also is re­tir­ing.

Dur­ing Ig­nagni’s 22-year ten­ure at AHIP, a group of more than 200 health in­sur­ance com­pa­nies, she be­came one of the most in­flu­en­tial lob­by­ists in the coun­try and has been syn­ony­mous with the of­ten-con­tro­ver­sial health in­sur­ance in­dus­try.

Ig­nagni and AHIP played a piv­otal though am­bigu­ous role in the po­lit­i­cal ne­go­ti­a­tions lead­ing to the Af­ford­able Care Act, pub­licly sup­port­ing the leg­is­la­tion while fund­ing the op­po­si­tion be­hind the scenes.

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