HHS Names HealthCare.Gov CEO

Anthony Brino | Government Health IT | August 26, 2014

An insurance industry veteran who managed one of the few well-functioning state exchanges in the first open enrollment period is taking a key federal post.  Kevin Counihan, the current CEO of Access Health CT, Connecticut’s state exchange, has been named federal marketplace CEO by Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell.  Counihan will be leading the federal exchange, covering more than 35 state markets for subsidized individual and small business insurance, managing relationships with state-based exchanges and also heading up the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.

Counihan’s post overseeing subsidized insurance sales and new Affordable Care Act market regulations comes after three decades spent working in public and private managed care.  Counihan started out at the Equicor health plan in the late 1980s and worked as a regional executive when Cigna bought the company in 1990. He joined Tufts Health Plan in 1993, becoming senior VP of sales, and in 2006 entered the public-sector as chief marketing officer for Massachusetts’ pre-ACA exchange, the Health Insurance Connector.

He then spent a short time as president of Choice Administrators in California before becoming CEO of Connecticut’s insurance exchange in 2012, where he helped craft an exchange technology platform that’s now being contracted out to nine other states.  That exchange technology hasn’t been 100 percent successful. About 5,000 customers received inaccurate enrollment or billing information after data exchange problems with insurers and improper Medicaid determinations, and this summer the exchange suffered a data breach after a call center employee took home an unencrypted laptop...