Building an in-house pharmacy benefit management operation from scratch, competing with bulked-up insurance rivals and coping with major regulatory changes in the individual market top the list of challenges facing Gail Boudreaux, Anthem's new president and CEO.
Industry analysts have high expectations for Boudreaux, who most recently headed UnitedHealth Group's insurance division and previously oversaw Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in four states. The former college basketball star was named to lead Anthem in November, succeeding Joseph Swedish at the giant publicly traded insurer, which had about $85 billion in revenue last year.
Ana Gupte, senior healthcare research analyst at Leerink Partners, said Boudreaux's experience working with UnitedHealth's Optum data analytics and pharmacy services unit will prepare her well for Anthem's ambitious effort to build its own pharmacy benefit manager, IngenioRx, which is slated to launch in 2020. But she'll have to wade through some murky waters. Anthem is teaming with CVS Health on IngenioRx. Late last year, CVS agreed to buy Anthem's rival, Aetna.
Gupte doubts Boudreaux will make a renewed push for a big merger with another insurer following the flameout of the proposed Anthem-Cigna combination. Instead, she sees the new CEO continuing Anthem's successful strategy of expanding and buying Medicare and Medicaid plans in local markets.
Her moves in the Affordable Care Act individual market will also be closely watched. Her predecessor, Swedish, kept Anthem in the troubled ACA exchanges on a scaled-back basis while other big commercial insurers exited.