Leslie Margolin led the Woodland Hills-based insurer as it weathered intense criticism this year over planned rate increases of up to 39% for many of its nearly 800,000 individual policyholders. Anthem canceled the hikes after calculation errors were uncovered in its filing.
Anthem parent WellPoint Inc. would not comment on Margolin's departure, saying only in a written statement that she "played an integral role in collaborating with hospitals and providers across the state" and championed innovations to improve patient safety.
Despite WellPoint's denials, there's no question that they've been disappointed in their West Coast operation's failure to boost profits. Margolin has been president for two years, and in that time Anthem Blue Cross has seen profits dwindle, passage of the Affordable Care Act, and a strong movement afoot in California for statewide single payer health insurance.
I suspect Margolin is heading out of the corporate sector to the nonprofit sector to do battle against the rising tide of California OneCare's passage after Jerry Brown is elected Governor.
In a separate statement, Margolin said she was leaving Anthem to lead a private healthcare reform coalition, Transforming Health Care. That group is composed of hospitals, physician groups, health plans, employers and consumer advocates working to improve California's healthcare delivery system, Margolin said in a statement.
It sounds so nice and consumer-friendly, doesn't it? Their website isn't launched yet, but it has this nice transitional statement on a plain page:
TransformingHealthcare.com is a consortium of expertise to improve performance, change, and grow healthcare organizations. This strategic alliance of consulting firms offering complementary services in healthcare. These organizations, most headed by their founders, have small, elite staff with outstanding competence in their specialties. Consultants are selected to create the most appropriate team for the needs of each client.
The list is interesting. From computer consultants to specialists in Sarbanes-Oxley, it's certainly an eclectic bunch. And now they can add Margolin, former president of Anthem Blue Cross.