The Board of Directors of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has named Dr. I. Steven Udvarhelyi as the company’s new president and CEO. Udvarhelyi, who is currently executive vice president, health services, and chief strategy officer at Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia, will assume his new responsibilities in the first quarter of 2016.
Last February, outgoing President and CEO Mike Reitz announced his plans to retire from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana in June 2016, providing the company ample time to plan an orderly transition.
“We are delighted that someone of Steve’s character and experience will succeed Mike Reitz as president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. Steve has the management qualities to continue developing what Mike has built, not only in Mike’s seven years as CEO, but in his entire 40 years in this business,” said Dan S. Borné, chairman of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Board of Directors.
“Steve understands our business and has the strategic vision to address the challenges that face insurers, policyholders, agents and providers in today’s volatile healthcare environment,” Borné said.
“I am sincerely pleased and excited to have been offered this opportunity to serve the employees and customers of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, and to work with the physicians, hospitals and other healthcare stakeholders in Louisiana to improve the health of the members we serve,” said Udvarhelyi. “I look forward to bringing my leadership, knowledge of the healthcare industry, and strategic perspective to bear on the complex issues we face in this challenging time in healthcare, and to help continue the tradition of success of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. My family and I also look forward to enjoying south Louisiana’s well-known hospitality, food and culture.”
Reitz said that, though he knows Blue Cross will be in good hands, “This makes my departure seem a little more concrete, and I know I’m going to miss that day-to-day engagement with the industry and the people here. I have served Blue Cross for more than 40 years, and during that time, I’ve formed a personal bond with the people in this state I call home.”
He added, “I am also looking forward to my next chapter.”
Borné said Reitz gave the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Board of Directors more than a year’s notice to find the best candidate for the company’s next CEO. “This is a carefully planned succession,” Borné said. “Blue Cross is a major employer in Louisiana and a leader in the state’s healthcare industry, and all of us on the Board of Directors understand the responsibility this places upon us.”
Udvarhelyi spent almost 20 years at Independence Blue Cross (Independence). His current role, held since 2012, is executive vice president of health services and chief strategy officer, which includes responsibility for the health services division, comprising medical management, pharmacy management, provider contracting and provider relations, and enterprise-wide informatics; and for strategy and planning, corporate development and innovation, including the Independence Blue Cross Center for Health Care Innovation. As Chief Strategy Officer, Udvarhelyi is responsible for working with the CEO and senior leadership team to help Independence achieve its vision and mission.
Udvarhelyi joined Independence in 1996 and in his time there served as senior vice president and chief medical officer before moving into his current position.
A board-certified internist, Udvarhelyi has almost 25 years of experience in the managed care industry, including roles with the Prudential Insurance Company of America in its corporate offices in New Jersey, and in its southeast regional office, running the Prudential health plans in Florida. Before his career in the health insurance industry, he was a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, and he has published numerous articles on quality in healthcare.
Udvarhelyi serves as chair of the board of directors of NaviNet, is on the national board of trustees for the Devereux Foundation and is on the board of directors of the Franklin Institute. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College, an M.D. degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a Master of Science degree in health services administration from Harvard School of Public Health.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Founded in New Orleans in 1934, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer. We are a private company, mutually owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We are an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to improving the health and lives of all Louisianians. With our subsidiaries, HMO Louisiana and Southern National Life, we provide group and individual health insurance plans, life and disability insurance, group voluntary products and administrative services to one out of four Louisiana residents. We’re the only Louisiana insurer that offers plans in every parish. We also provide every customer with comprehensive wellness education, programs and services to help them live healthier lives. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, we have eight regional offices to serve our customers around the state.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is dedicated to transforming the healthcare industry in Louisiana into one that delivers high-quality health outcomes for our customers with top-notch service at more affordable costs. Our reputation for exceptional service and prompt payments, as well as the hard work of our 200+ in-house doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers and dietitians, keeps both customer and provider satisfaction high. Surveys by the Louisiana State Medical Society and the Louisiana Hospital Association consistently rank Blue Cross the best company providers do business with.
Blue Cross is deeply committed to the communities we serve. We invest both time and money in the health and wellbeing of Louisiana children by supporting more than 200 charitable organizations. We invite and encourage all Louisianians to visit our website or talk to us on social media through our online hub.