Karen Ignagni’s tenure with America’s Health Insurance Plans is over.

After 22 years with Washington, D.C.-based AHIP, Ignagni, the organization’s president and CEO, resigned Thursday to take over as president and CEO of EmblemHealth in New York. “I am honored to join this unique not-for-profit health plan at such an important time,” Ignagni says.

AHIP had nothing but praise for Ignagni. “The board is grateful for Karen’s 22 years of service to the association and industry,” says Board Chairman Mark Ganz. “As the voice of our industry, she has worked tirelessly on our behalf with acumen that is unmatched.

“As the health insurance industry’s top representative in Washington, Karen has successfully navigated intense challenges from the Patient’s Bill of Rights to the Affordable Care Act,” Ganz adds. “With tenacity, intellect and deep policy knowledge, she ensured our industry has a seat at all tables. Perhaps her greatest contributions have been highlighting the value and innovations of this industry.”

Along with advocating for the ACA, Ignagni helped advisers to understand the nuances of the health care law, says Diane Boyle, senior vice president, government relation at the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. “Together, we’ve promoted professional development and educational advancement for our members through AHIP courses and training, and we’ve worked closely in advocating on issues relating to modifications to the Affordable Care Act and in disability insurance,” she says. “We will miss Karen.”

Ignagni has also formed strong relationships with employers, says Brian Marcotte, president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health. “Karen has been a great partner to work with NBGH and the employer community over the years on improving value in health care, and has long been one of the leading voices advocating for affordability in health care,” he says.

Ignagni might be stepping down as AHIP’s leader, but she isn’t leaving the organization entirely — EmblemHealth is an AHIP member. “We are pleased to continue our work with Karen,” Ganz says.

Ignagni takes over for current chairman and CEO Frank Branchini, who will continue to chair the board of directors. Ignagni starts her new role Sept. 1.

“These are exciting times in health care, and Karen brings the energy, management skills and deep-seated industry knowledge to continue our long tradition of innovation and commitment to serving the health needs of all New Yorkers,” Branchini says.

Dan Durham, executive vice president for strategic initiatives, will serve as AHIP’s interim CEO while the board of directors launches a national search for Ignagni’s replacement. 

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