Marilyn Tavenner, head of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — the agency largely behind the rollout of the Affordable Care Act —plans to step down at the end of February, she told her staff in an email Friday.

Tavenner didn’t say why she was leaving. In November, Tavenner acknowledged that her agency had made a mistake in its calculation of the number of people enrolled under the ACA. About 393,000 individuals with both health and dental coverage were “inadvertently counted twice,” she said in a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican whose committee discovered the error.

On January 7, HHS said that since open enrollment began on November 15, 2014, nearly 6.6 million consumers selected a plan or were automatically re-enrolled in the federally facilitated marketplace.

The agency is expected to announce Friday that Andrew Slavitt, the agency’s second-ranking official, will take over in an acting capacity.

Tavenner was confirmed as administrator of CMS on May 15, 2013, by a voice vote in the U.S. Senate, the first CMS administrator to be confirmed in over nine years.

At the time, then Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that “Marilyn brings with her a breadth of experience and expertise from virtually all angles of health care policy and delivery, having served as a hospital CEO, a state health official, and a registered nurse.  Marilyn will serve in a critical role at CMS as we work to improve the health care for hundreds of millions of Americans.”

Before her appointment, Tavenner was acting administrator of CMS, and previously served as principal deputy administrator.

In an email to staff, Tavenner wrote that it was with “sadness and mixed emotions that I write to tell you that February will be my last month serving as the administrator for CMS.”

She said she has “great pride and joy knowing all that we have accomplished together since I came on board” and noted the role of CMS has evolved through the leadership of previous administrators, and “also the legislative changes put forth by Congress.”

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said in a statement that Travenner "has done a great job in a very difficult position under near impossible circumstances. She has proven herself to be a  strong leader and a straight-shooter who brought in much needed private sector sensibility into the agency. I truly appreciate her service and wish her the very best in her next adventure.”

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Employee Benefit Adviser content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access