Kaiser Permanente’s president and chief operating officer, Bernard Tyson, will replace retiring chairman and CEO George Halvorson next year as head of the largest nonprofit health insurer in the U.S., the company said.
Tyson, 53, has worked at Kaiser for 28 years. He previously directed the nonprofit’s hospital systems and led development of Kaiser’s “Thrive” advertising campaign. He’ll take over for Halvorson, 65, who plans to step down in December 2013 after leading the company since 2002.
Kaiser Permanente, based in Oakland, California, covered 9 million people last year, mostly in the West, and had $47.9 billion in revenue, according to its website. It runs 37 hospitals in California, Oregon and Hawaii and employs 17,000 physicians. The nonprofit’s integrated system, in which one entity delivers care and pays the bills, was a model for the U.S. health-care overhaul, which encourages doctors, hospitals and insurers to better coordinate services.
“We’re out to prove that the highest quality care is possible and it can be done at an affordable price,” Tyson said in a telephone interview. “That’ll continue to drive us.”
Tyson will join the company’s board of directors next month and assume Halvorson’s position at the end of 2013 after a six- month transition period, the company said.
He’ll take over as President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul, the Affordable Care Act, is fully implemented at the beginning of 2014. New insurance marketplaces called exchanges are due to open in every state and Medicaid, the joint federal- state program for the poor, will expand nationwide to cover people earning close to poverty wages. About 30 million people are expected to gain coverage.
Kaiser expects to offer exchange plans in every state where it operates, Tyson said.
“Clearly there’s a lot of unknowns right now as we think about all the changes happening in the industry,” he said. “One of the biggest challenges is making sure that we continue to contribute to the evolving landscape for health care in this country.”
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