Piper joined Anthem in 2020 as part of the insurer's acquisition of Centene's WellCare of Nebraska plan, according to the suit. Anthem paid an undisclosed sum for Centene's Nebraska subsidiary, which expanded its geographic footprint to the Cornhusker State.
Anthem renamed the plan Healthy Blue Nebraska and retained Piper, eventually promoting him to president of the state's Medicaid arm in 2021. As part of his promotion, Anthem awarded Piper three restrictive stock grants worth several hundreds of thousands of dollars, each coming with a confidentiality agreement restricting Piper's ability to use Anthem information to compete against the insurer or steal its customers, providers or employees, the complaint said.
In addition to awarding Piper the stock grants, Anthem said it also invested in educating Piper on the process for rebidding for state Medicaid managed-care contracts. As part of this training program, Piper attended internal strategy meetings on how the company planned to re-bid for its Medicaid managed-care contract in Iowa.
The Iowa Department of Human Services released its RFP for Medicaid managed-care plans to run the Iowa Health Link Medicaid program in December 2021, and expects to award contracts this fall.
After each Anthem meeting, Piper forwarded internal company documents, related to its Medicaid bidding process and Iowa market overview, to his personal email, the suit says. He eventually used what he learned at Anthem to secure a higher-paying job at rival CareSource, according to the complaint.
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"Piper apparently saw that Anthem's generosity in preparing him for the upcoming Nebraska rebid provided him a unique opportunity to take the playbook Anthem shared with him and use it to secure a position at a competing Iowa plan," the suit states.
In late November, Piper formally resigned from his post at Anthem, telling the insurer he was jumping ship to an undisclosed competitor in another state where he had no insider information. Because Piper said he was going to work for a competitor, Anthem said it fired him a week later, mailing him a letter that reminded him of his non-competition and non-solicitation agreements. Piper did not reply, the suit says.
Anthem officials found out Piper had moved to Caresource after seeing him at the Iowa State Capitol Building, advertising information about the health plan's Medicaid offerings. In February, they mailed him and CareSource letters, stressing that he should not have a role in structuring the insurer's Medicaid managed-care bid. Piper responded by saying he had no confidential information to offer his new employer, according to the complaint.
Piper's failure to excuse himself from CareSource's bid process leaves Anthem no choice but to sue to halt his participation, the insurer says. The company is seeking injunctive relief, compensatory damages and reimbursement for attorneys' fees. Anthem is also seeking a tolling provision, which aims to extend Piper's non-compete and non-solicitation agreements by the length of time the court deems he violated them.
Anthem seeks a jury trial.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Piper's state division.