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Consumers, Insurers, Employers, Brokers Named to Advise DC Health Benefit Exchange on Key Issues

Thursday, February 7, 2013
Thirty-two professionals are tapped to flesh out membership on three new advisory committees.

Today, the Executive Board of the DC Health Benefit Exchange (HBX) Authority voted unanimously to appoint 32 skilled professionals to serve on three new Advisory Committees.  The new Committees will advise the Board on the role of Producers (Brokers & Agents), Plan Management, and Consumer Assistance and Outreach. The Committees were established by the Executive Board to ensure stakeholder participation in all of the work being done to set up a new competitive health insurance marketplace for the District.

“I am extremely pleased that these talented community leaders will be joining our efforts to bring affordable, high-quality health coverage to the residents of the District of Columbia,” said Dr. Mohammad Akhter, chair of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority. “We are building this market from the ground up and stakeholder involvement is critical to our success.”

The appointees to the three committees represent a balanced mix of consumers, insurers, employers, brokers, and health care providers. They were selected for their professional qualifications and skills, expert knowledge and community involvement to provide make substantive input on the issues the Board must address to successfully build the District's Health Benefits Exchange.

“The Standing Advisory Board under the leadership of Chris Gardner did an outstanding job in selecting a diverse group of professionals to serve on these critically important Advisory Committees,” said Mila Kofman, J.D., executive director of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Board Authority.  “They worked tirelessly to achieve the important balance to ensure that all stakeholders are represented.”

The three Advisory Committees will supplement the work of the Standing Advisory Board and Policy Working Groups named last month. The Producers Advisory Committee will advise on how to best use the experience and skills of insurance brokers and agents to help people choose coverage. This will include issues around compensation and appointment, and other issues as requested by the Executive Board or Authority staff. The Plan Management Committee will examine issues related to qualified health plan (QHP) requirements, certification processes, and enrollment. The Consumer Assistance and Outreach Advisory Committee will focus on the design and implementation of the Navigator and Consumer Assistance programs to help educate residents and enroll them.

“We are benefitting from the knowledge and insights of people from all disciplines who share our commitment to making the new insurance marketplace work efficiently and effectively,” said Mila Kofman.

The Board based its decisions on the recommendations from the Authority’s Standing Advisory Board. “These men and women have demonstrated the requisite skills, professional qualifications, and community involvement to make substantive contributions to the issues that must be addressed in order to successfully build the District's Health Benefit Exchange,” said Chris Gardner, chair of the Standing Advisory Board.

The appointees to the Committees are as follows:

Producer (Brokers & Agents) Advisory Committee

  • Lee Bethel (Committee Chairperson) - President of Comprehensive Benefit Services, Inc.
  • David Chandra - Senior Policy Analyst, The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Stephanie Cohen - Co-Founder and CEO of NFP Golden & Cohen, LLC; Co-Founder of Maryland Women Ambassadors for Business
  • Robert Poli - Executive VP and CEO for Insurance Marketing Center (IMC)
  • Robert John Clark - Senior Manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute (HRI)
  • Margaret Flickinger - Managing Principal and CEO of Keller Benefits Services, Inc.
  • David Smith - Vice President of Sales and Account Management, United Healthcare
  • Antoinette “Toni” Young - Founder and Executive Director or the Community Education Group (CEG), formerly known as the National Women and HIV/AIDS Project
  • David Natori - National Head of Distribution and Channel management, for Small Group and Individual, Aetna
  • Wes Rodriguez Rivers -Policy Analyst, DC Fiscal Policy Institute
  • Sanford Walters - President of Kelly Administrative Services for Kelly & Associates Insurance Group

Plan Management Advisory Committee

  • Dania A. Palanker (Committee Chairperson) - Associate Director of Healthcare Policy, National Women’s Law Center 
  • Louisa L. Tavakoli - Vice President of Mandates Strategy, Delivery Oversight, CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield.
  • Hannah K. Turner - Legislative Compliance Consultant, Keller Benefit Services 
  • Casey A. Hedden - Regional Sales Manager, Mid Atlantic, DentaQuest, Inc.
  • Claire McAndrew - Senior Health Policy Analyst, Families USA
  • Tanya M. Robinson - Director of Strategic Market Initiatives and Senior Manager of Product Development, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan
  • Jeffrey M. Album - Vice President of Public and Government Affairs, Delta Dental of California
  • John Fleig - Health Care Reform Lead for Northeast Region, COO Mid Atlantic Health Plan, United Healthcare 
  • Goulda A. Downer - Principal Investigator and Project Director, AIDS Education and Training Center/National Multicultural Center (AETC/NMC), Howard University 
  • An additional appointee will be made to the Plan Management Advisory Committee.

Consumer Assistance Advisory Committee

  • Stuart P. Berlow (Committee Chairperson) - Public Policy Manager, DC Cancer Consortium 
  • Katherine J. Stocks - Attorney and Associate, The Goldblatt Group
  • Elaine Marie Saly - Health Policy Analyst, Families USA
  • Stephanie Oluchukwu Akpa - Attorney and Equal Justice Works Fellow, Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia 
  • Marilyn Schindler Koss - President, Koss Benefits Financial & Insurance Services 
  • Kimberly L. Fox - Director of Direct Community Benefit Investments, Finance and Compliance, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States Region (KFHP)
  • Alma A. Alfaro-Laska - Membership Coordinator, The Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Susan A. Walker - Retired Medical Social Worker/ Advocate 
  • Bethlehem Tadesse - Assistant Manager of Programs and Evaluation, The Community Education Group (CEG), Washington, DC 
  • Erin M. Loubier - Director of Public Benefits, Whitman-Walker Health (WWH) Legal Services Program, and Senior Managing Attorney 
  • Theresa A. Waters - Senior Director of Human Resource and Administration, American Immigration Lawyers Association 

For more information on the appointees, please visit hbx.dc.gov/.