CareFirst Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Owings Mills, Md., revamped its board of directors as required by a new law passed after the health insurer's ill-fated attempt to convert to for-profit status. CareFirst replaced seven members of its 23-person board and elected Michael Merson, former president and chief executive officer of five-hospital Helix Health, as its new chairman. The insurer also appointed two new members to an affiliate board that oversees its Maryland operations and named John Colmers, a former state health regulator, as chairman of the affiliate board. In March 2003, Maryland insurance regulators blocked CareFirst's plan to merge with for-profit WellPoint Health Networks, criticizing CareFirst for failing to negotiate a fair sale price and approving "excessive" bonuses for its top executives. State lawmakers subsequently passed reform legislation that called for the state to replace five CareFirst board members by the end of 2003 and required the company to replace seven more members by July 2004. The five state-appointed directors, including Merson and Colmers, joined the board in January. Merson and Colmers will assume their new chairman roles July 1.
Those named to the full CareFirst board last week include: Gregory Billups, CEO, Systems Maintenance and Technology; Trena Taylor Brown, former vice president, AT&T; Loretta Dunn, vice president of government affairs, Boeing Co.; Elizabeth Loker, former vice president, the Washington Post; C. James Lowthers, president, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 400; Kevin Quinn, owner, Wye River Capital; and Kathleen White, associate professor, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. Named to the affiliate board were Giuseppe Savona, former vice president of government programs, UnitedHealth Group; and Andrea Amprey, executive vice president, KimKeli Group. CareFirst covers 3.2 million people in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and Washington, D.C. -- by Laura B. Benko