Dr. I. Steven Udvarhelyi, an executive with Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia, has been named president and chief executive officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.
Udvarhelyi, executive vice president of health services and chief strategy officer for Independence Blue Cross, will replace Mike Reitz. Reitz, who had been with Blue Cross for more than 40 years, announced in February he would step down in June 2016.
Udvarhelyi, who has been with Independence Blue Cross for almost 20 years, will assume his new role with Blue Cross in early 2016.
“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 health care stakeholders in Louisiana to improve the health of the members we serve,” Udvarhelyi said. “I look forward to bringing my leadership, knowledge of the health care industry and strategic perspective to bear on the complex issues we face in this challenging time in health care, and to help continue the tradition of success of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.”
A board-certified internist, Udvarhelyi has almost 25 years of experience in the managed care industry, including roles with the Prudential Insurance Co. 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 health care.
Udvarhelyi serves as chairman 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’s from Harvard, a medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a master’s in health services administration from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Dan S. Borné, chairman of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana board of directors, said he was delighted someone with Udvarhelyi’s background and experience would succeed Reitz.
“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,” Borné said. “Steve understands our business and has the strategic vision to address the challenges that face insurers, policyholders, agents and providers in today’s volatile health care environment.”
With the announcement of a successor, Reitz said it makes his departure from Blue Cross seem more concrete.
“I know I’m going to miss that day-to-day engagement with the industry and the people here,” he said.
Blue Cross had $1.35 billion in group premiums written, or 39 percent of the Louisiana market in 2013, according to the most recent figures from the state Department of Insurance. Blue Cross’ book of business was three times the size of its nearest competitor, UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co.