Last week we got news that Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota was reporting heavy losses in 2013. A total of $72.9 million in losses, including $51 million attributable to the company’s involvement in creating Maryland’s disastrous Obamacare insurance exchange.
This morning I have news from an extremely credible source who is telling me that BCBS has fired CEO Paul von Ebers.
I’m told that BCBSND may be making an announcement regarding this situation as early as this afternoon.
My source tells me that the BCBSND board held an executive session meeting on Friday, and that von Ebers was “walked out of the room.”
I’ve emailed Andrea Dinneen, spokeswoman for BCBS, requesting comment but I’m guessing they’re not going to respond until they make their announcement.
BCBSND subsidiary Noridian Healthcare Solutions was hired by the State of Maryland to build their state-based Obamacare exchange, but they were fired after months of delays and problems plagued the project.
BCBSND was part of a heavy lobbying effort pushing the State of North Dakota to establish a state-level exchange as well.
In late December of last year BCBSND sent out a letter to state legislators announcing their intention to withdraw from the state’s expansion of Medicaid, which was an element of the federal Affordable Care Act implemented by the state, citing financial risks.
“BCBSND is unable to assume the financial risk in the arrangement and is obligated to protect the company and its members from the unidentified claims costs for this population,” the letter read.
Update: BCBS has now confirmed that Von Ebers is out.
“The board felt it was necessary to make a change at the CEO position in order to ensure confidence in the future financial direction of our organization,” Ann McConn, president of the company’s board of directors, said in a statement.
The statement also said the 13-member board will not further discuss the nature of von Ebers’ termination due to “confidentiality.”
Von Ebers came to the company after more than 20 years with Blue Cross Blue Sheild divisions in Iowa and South Dakota. He took over in 2009 after public furor over a sales reward trip to a luxury resort in the Grand Cayman Islands culminated in the dismissal of then-CEO Mike Unhjem.
The company’s chief operating officer, Tim Huckle, will step up to serve as interim president and chief executive officer.