America's Health Insurance Plans

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America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) is a lobbying group "representing nearly 1,300 member companies providing health insurance coverage to more than 200 million Americans," according to its website. [1] "AHIP's principal purpose is to represent the interests of our members on legislative and regulatory issues at the federal and state levels, and with the media, consumers and employers," the site adds. [2]


AHIP was formed in 2004, by the merger of the American Association of Health Plans (AAHP) and Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA). [3] At the time, AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignani said the merged group would be "very active in the legislative arena." [4] "AAHP and HIAA merger talks go back to 1999--a time when HIAA's members were mostly individual small-group insurers and AAHP members were mainly large managed-care companies," reported one trade publication. "Historical differences in products and policy positions had largely disappeared over the years. As they investigated merger possibilities, they realized their missions were in sync and compatible. The merger increased AAHP's budget by about 40% and created the largest health insurance lobby on Capitol Hill." [5]

HIAA was behind the 1993 "Harry and Louise" television advertisements opposing then-First Lady Hillary Clinton's proposed health care reform plan. [6]

Opposition to the Affordable Care Act

Investigation by the National Journal into the 2011 990 forms of both the National Federation of Independent Business and AHIP revealed that AHIP transferred $850,000 that year to NFIB in order to fight against the premium tax that is a key component of the Affordable Care Act.[7] As the National Journal reports, "The back-channel spending shows how insurers were able to fund a key—and much more politically popular—ally in their fight against the premium tax."

"Campaign for an American Solution"

AHIP launched the Campaign for an American Solution in Columbus, OH on July 22nd, 2008. The Campaign is billed as a grassroots campaign and listening tour to "build support for workable health care reform based on core principles supported by the American people: coverage, affordability, quality, value, choice and portability."[8]

In Columbus, AHIP was met with large crowds of protesters unhappy with the health insurance industry. A protester succeeded in posing a question at the roundtable discussion, asking CEO Karen M. Ignagni whether she agreed with WellPoint CEO Angela Braly's comment that, "We will not sacrifice profitability for membership." Ignangi responded by saying that in the health insurance industry, "No profit, no mission."

AHIP's other stops on their listening tour have been:


In the first half of 2009, AHIP spent $3,900,000 on in-house lobbying efforts and $525,000 on outside lobbying firms and consultants, including the Duberstein Group, Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, HC Assoc, Stephanie Wenkert Kanwit, Davis & Harman, Glover Park Group and Capitol Health Group. [9]

In 2006, AHIP spent over US$7 million on lobbying, and its 2005 television ad "Shark Bait" drew harsh criticism for its claim that "lawsuit abuse" by American trial lawyers cost the typical American family US$1,200 a year.

Institute for Clinical and Economic Review

AHIP is a significant funding source [1] for the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER)[[2]] a non-profit which has been criticized for providing insurers public support in their decisions to exclude prescription drugs from coverage. Steve Pearson, ICER's president and founder, was previously an AHIP senior fellow.[3]


AHIP President Karen M. Ignagni frequently serves as a spokesperson for the views of the insurance industry, recently taping an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show opposite Michael Moore to discuss Sicko. In response to a past statement by Senator Hillary Clinton that insurance companies "spend tens of billions of dollars a year figuring out how not to cover people" and "how to cherry-pick the healthiest persons, and leave everyone else out in the cold", Ignagni asserted the AHIP endorses the goal of universal coverage, that insurers deny only 3 percent of claims, and that many of those are for experimental procedures that employers do not cover.

AHIP's Board of Directors is made up of mostly CEOs and Presidents of health insurance companies. They are, as of September, 2008:

  • Mr. Michael E. Abbott - President & CEO, American Republic Insurance Company
  • Mr. David H. Klein - President & CEO, The Lifetime Healthcare Companies (formerly Excellus)
  • Ms. Debbie J. Ahl - President & CEO, Sterling Life Insurance Company
  • Mr. Gary B. Lenderink - EVP, Risk Management Products Guardian
  • Mr. Scott Armstrong - President and CEO, Group Health Cooperative
  • Robert I. Lufrano, MD - Chairman and CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida
  • Mr. John E. Aschenbrenner - President, Insurance and Financial Services, Principal Financial Group
  • Mr. Frederick J. Manning - Chairman & CEO, Celtic Insurance Company
  • Mr. Charles D. Baker - President and CEO, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
  • Anthony M. Marlon, MD - Chairman & CEO, Sierra Health Services, Inc.
  • Mr. Richard A. Barasch - Chairman & CEO, Universal American Financial Corporation
  • Mr. Michael McCallister - President and CEO, Humana Inc.
  • Mr. Christy W. Bell - President and COO, Horizon Healthcare and Senior Vice President Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ
  • Mr. Raymond F. McCaskey - CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of IL/Health Care Service Corp.
  • Mr. Bruce G. Bodaken - Chairman, President & CEO, Blue Shield of California
  • Mr. Jeffrey L. McWaters - Chairman and CEO, AMERIGROUP Corporation
  • Ms. Mary Brainerd - President & CEO, HealthPartners, Inc.
  • Kenneth R. Melani, MD - President and CEO, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Ms. Angela Braly - President and CEO, WellPoint, Inc.
  • Joseph Mario Molina, MD - Chairman & CEO, Molina Healthcare, Inc.
  • Mr. Frank J. Branchini - CEO, Group Health Incorporated
  • Mr. Daniel P. Neary - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company
  • Mr. William Cameron - Chairman and CEO, American Fidelity Assurance Company
  • Mr. David W. Oliker - President & CEO, MVP Health Care
  • William J. Cromie, MD - President and CEO, Capital District Physicians' Health Plan
  • Ms. Francine Parker - President and CEO, Health Alliance Plan
  • Michael W. Cropp, MD - President and CEO, Independent Health
  • Norman C. Payson, MD - Chairman of the Board, Concentra Inc.
  • Mr. Benjamin M. Cutler - Chairman and CEO, USHEALTH Group, Inc.
  • Mr. Christopher D. Perna - President, MedAmerica
  • Mr. Michael M. Dudley - President, Sentara Health Plans, Inc.
  • Mr. Robert Reed - President and Chief Executive Officer, Physicians Mutual Insurance Company
  • Mr. Joseph A. Frick - President and CEO, Independence Blue Cross
  • Mr. Richard L. Richiski - Executive Vice President, COO Specialties, Zurich North America
  • Mr. Mark B. Ganz - President & CEO, The Regence Group
  • Mr. Richard F. Rivers - Executive Vice President, Great-West Healthcare
  • Mr. William J. Gedwed - Chairman, President & CEO, HealthMarkets
  • Ms. Jeannine M. Rivet - Executive Vice President, UnitedHealth Group
  • Mr. Jay M. Gellert - President & CEO, Health Net, Inc.
  • Mr. James Roosevelt - President and Chief Executive Officer, Tufts Health Plan
  • Ms. Vicky B. Gregg - President and Chief Executive Officer, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
  • Lewis G. Sandy, MD (CMO Chair Representative) - Senior Vice President, Clinical Advancement UnitedHealth Group
  • Mr. Rick L. Haines - President & CEO, AultCare
  • Mr. Buck Stinson - President, Long Term Care, Genworth Financial
  • Mr. George C. Halvorson - Chairman and CEO, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Hospitals
  • Mr. Grover Thomas - Chairman of the Board, Trustmark Companies
  • Mr. Don G. Hamm - President and CEO, Assurant Health
  • Mr. Edward H. Walker - SVP, AEGON Direct Marketing Services
  • Mr. H. Edward Hanway - Chairman and CEO, CIGNA Corp.
  • Mr. Thomas R. Watjen - President and CEO, Unum Group
  • Mr. Mickey Herbert - President & CEO, ConnectiCare, Inc. & Affiliates
  • Mr. Anthony L. Watson - Chairman and CEO, HIP Health Plan of New York
  • Mr. Billy B. Hill - President, United Teacher Associates Insurance Company
  • Mr. Ronald A. Williams - Chairman, President and CEO, Aetna Inc.
  • Mr. John Hopkins - President and CEO, Rocky Mountain Health Plans
  • Mr. Dale B. Wolf - President and CEO, Coventry Health Care Inc.

Member companies

As of September 2009: [10]

Contact information

America's Health Insurance Plans
601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
South Building
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20004

Phone: 202.778.3200
Fax: 202.331.7487

Email: ahip AT

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

External resources

External articles


  1. "About AHIP," America's Health Insurance Plans website, accessed September 2009.
  2. "Who we are," America's Health Insurance Plans website, accessed September 2009.
  3. Press release, "America's Health Insurance Plans Chart a Course for Improving Quality, Access and Affordability," America's Health Insurance Plans via PR Newswire, March 9, 2004.
  4. "New Name For Merged Health Insurer Associations," National Journal's CongressDaily, March 9, 2004.
  5. Dennis Kelly, "Survival techniques: insurance trades are reassessing and sometimes reshaping their presence in the industry in order to stay alive," Best's Review, April 1, 2004.
  6. Raymond J Lehmann, "'Harry and Louise' Return in New Health Care Spots," BestWire, August 21, 2008.
  7. Chris Frates, How Much Big Insurance Paid a Small-Business Group to Fight a Premium Tax, National Journal, May 13, 2013.
  8. America’s Health Insurance Plans, "Health Insurance Plans Kick Off Health Care Reform Campaign", America's Health Insurance Plans website, July 30, 2008.
  9. "Lobbying spending database: America's Health Insurance Plans," via, accessed September 2009.
  10. "Health insurance plan links," America's Health Insurance Plans website, accessed September 2009.