Insurance Strategist to Lead New Mass. Health Plan Agency

May 30, 2006

Jon Kingsdale’s life is about to get a whole lot more complicated.

The Romney administration has announced that Kingsdale will head up the new Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, the independent state authority charged with turning the state’s ambitious new health care reform law into reality.

One of Kingsdale first jobs will be explaining the new law to the state’s estimated 550,000 uninsured residents.

For the poorest, that will mean helping them sign up for new state assisted health care plans. For those making more money, it will mean explaining why they now must buy insurance for themselves or face tax penalties.

“The biggest challenge is informing the hundreds of thousands of citizens in this commonwealth how the new law works, and works to their advantages,” Kingsdale told The Associated Press. “I would be surprised if most people in the commonwealth understand that virtually everyone is going to have to have health insurance 13 months from now.”

Kingsdale has spent 25 years as a health insurance strategist in the Massachusetts market, most recently as a senior vice president at Tufts Associated Health Plans.

As head of the connector, Kingsdale will be paid $225,000 a year.

The “connector” — as it’s quickly becoming known on Beacon Hill — is the bureaucratic infrastructure on which much of the new law’s innovative health care changes rest. It will serve as the main clearinghouse linking individuals and small business owners with new low-cost health care and, for the state’s poorest residents, subsidized insurance plans.

Kingsdale says he’s ready for the challenge.

“What all of us are looking for is to make affordable, high-quality health care available to the half a million people who are currently uninsured,” he said.

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