Former Harvard Pilgrim official offered top Massachusetts health insurance post

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BOSTON >> A former top executive at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has been offered the job to become the next executive director of the Group Insurance Commission, a state agency that administers health insurance and other benefits for thousands of state employees and retirees.

The GIC board voted Tuesday to offer the job to Dr. Roberta Herman, of Navigant Consulting, according to the Executive Office of Administration and Finance. A former chief medical officer and chief operating officer at Harvard Pilgrim, Herman is also a primary care physician.

"Dr. Herman will bring crucial skills and experience to this very important position, including her impressive accomplishments as a physician and a quality improvement innovator," said Katherine Baicker, chair of the GIC Commission, in a statement. "GIC enrollees and the people of the Commonwealth will benefit enormously from her leadership."

Currently the director for Navigant Consulting's health care practice, Herman was appointed chief medical officer at Harvard Pilgrim by Gov. Charlie Baker, who ran the insurance company before running for governor. During Baker's 2014 campaign, Herman appeared in an ad with other former Harvard Pilgrim employees who vouched for Baker's leadership and management skills.

If she accepts the post, Herman will take over for Dolores Mitchell, who is retiring after a career in state government that included 29 years at the GIC.

Baker worked with Herman for roughly a decade at Harvard Pilgrim and said Wednesday that her tenure there as chief medical officer coincided with a period during which the insurer had the highest ratings in the country for clinical effectiveness and member satisfaction.

"I think she's a real pro and I think she's a worthy successor to Dolores Mitchell," Baker said.

The board voted 13-1 to offer Herman the position. Tim Sullivan, from the Massachusetts Teachers Association, was the lone vote against.

The other finalist for the position was Robert Carey, a former planning director at the Massachusetts Health Connector during the administration of Gov. Deval Patrick.

"We are extremely fortunate to have a new executive director with Dr. Herman's diverse and extensive background," Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore said in a statement.

The commission recently approved a health plan rate package featuring an average rate increase across all health plans for fiscal 2017 of 3.6 percent.


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