Michael S. Adelberg
Merry Beth Ward
Dr. Chester Brown, Jr.
Danielle S. Hirschovits-Gerz
Gary Melis, RPh
Catherine Macpherson, MS, RDN
Henry W. Osowski
Michael S. Adelberg
Formerly, Director of Medicare Advantage Operations, CMS
Mike Adelberg leads the Healthcare Strategy Practice at Faegre Drinker Consulting. He has 25
years progressive healthcare industry and government experience in Medicare, Medicaid and
commercial health insurance. Mike spent fifteen years at the Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid Services (CMS), including concurrently serving as the director of the Insurance
Programs Group and the acting director of the Exchange Policy and Operations Group in the
Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) where he oversaw most of
the functions of the federally-run health insurance exchanges; serving as the Director of
Medicare Advantage Operations, where he supervised the annual cycle for review and award of
Medicare Advantage bids and contracts, developed CMS’s operational policy, and led the
monitoring of Medicare Advantage contractors; and serving as the associate regional
administrator for Medicare operations (Chicago Region) and the director of education and
assistance programs. Mike gained private sector experience as vice president of product
development and government affairs for the Universal American Corporation, a multi-state
health insurer which operated Medicare Advantage and Medicaid health plans (subsequently
acquired by Wellcare).
He has also led or co-led health policy studies published in Health Affairs and The American Journal of Managed Care. Mike speaks and publishes frequently on healthcare topics and has served on numerous advisory committees. He’s been quoted in the Washington Post, New York Times, Modern Healthcare, NPR, and other leading media. In his spare time, Mike is an author. He’s written three novels, a history book, several scholarly journal articles, and over sixty book reviews.
Gabriel Ayerza is the Senior Director of Medicare Strategy at Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW). He is the primary stakeholder for Medicare growth, quality, product design, and performance. He also leads the State Medicaid Programs and Medicaid contracting team at CHPW. CHPW is a not-for-profit, mission-centered health plan founded by local community health centers in Washington State, and now serves 250k members. Previously, Gabriel worked for a large multispecialty, physician-owned group.
Naomi Irvin is a California native who relocated to North Carolina in 2006. She earned her undergraduate degree and MBA with a Marketing Certificate from East Carolina University (ECU). With over a decade of health insurance experience, Naomi currently leads a team of Compliance Consultants within the Sales, Marketing and Communications division of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. Her focus is balancing business objectives with compliance requirements.
Merry Beth Ward
Merry Beth Ward, Vice President of Marketing with Clover Health, has spent over 20 years
creating leads and supporting sales actions through multiple mediums and channels. Her
strength in strategic planning as well as experience with multiple facets of advertising and
marketing has been recognized multiple times within the healthcare industry. In her first year
with Clover Health she increased membership 29% utilizing both traditional and digital
advertising during AEP.
Before Clover Health, Merry Beth worked as Vice President of Healthcare Strategy for a direct marketing agency developing marketing plans, analyzing and implementing multi-channel marketing strategies to meet Medicare Advantage client objectives, as well as deliver comprehensive marketing strategies to meet client's goals.
Merry Beth’s Medicare Advantage experience started as Director of Marketing for Cigna- HealthSpring, where she oversaw all marketing and advertising for the southeast. Her efforts resulted in sales increasing by over 42% with 66% attributed to direct marketing activities. She is well versed in the field of Medicare, Medicaid and CMS regulations.
Merry Beth serves on the Board of Directors for Insight Counseling as well as was on the Board of Directors for Leadership Healthcare Council and Nashville American Marketing Association and was a Nashville Emerging Young Leader Finalist for two years. Merry Beth is a native of Nashville (yes, they do exist) and loves trying all the new restaurants in town with family and friends and watching sports (Let’s go Titans and Predators!).
Bruce Bonello is the Inside Sales Manager for Excellus BCBS. His role is to ensure an exceptional
sales & retention customer experience, through development of strategic and tactical business
plans, to ensure membership and retention goals are exceeded. He has a somewhat unique
position in which he has an ‘indirect’ team consisting of Sales Managers, Operations Managers,
and Quality Assurance Managers reporting to him via vendor. He is responsible for all Medicare
& Individual Market Direct Pay tele-sales initiatives.
Prior to joining Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield in 2015, Bruce served as Regional Director of Sales Operations for United Health Group. Bruce is a graduate of Rollins College where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and is currently working on his master’s degree.
Dr. Chester Brown, Jr.
Chester Brown Jr., better known as CJ, is the Director of Product Innovation at Anthem, leading
product strategy for Medicare Advantage. He is responsible for developing and implementing
strategic initiatives focused on product design, membership growth and retention, member
experience, and Social Determinants of Health.
With a track record of more than 20 years of managed care experience, CJ possesses strong business acumen and technical experience in Medicare, Medicaid, PBM contracting, provider risk agreements, risk adjustment, project management, business pro-forma analyses and benchmarking, revenue optimization, and regulatory filings. Prior to joining Anthem in 2011, he has held various leadership roles that include Vice President of Part D Business Performance & Operations at Arcadian Health Plan, Enrollment & Operations Manager at LA Care Health Plan, Revenue Manager at United Health Group, and Financial Manager at UCLA Medical Center.
CJ earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and his Master’s in Health Administration from the University of Southern California. He earned his doctorate in management with a focus on organizational leadership from the University of Phoenix.
Danielle S. Hirschovits-Gerz
Gary Melis, RPh
Gary Melis is a Clinical Pharmacist for the past six years at Network Health, a local health insurance
provider in Northeast and Southeast Wisconsin. He is currently one of two pharmacists involved
making MTM calls in-house. His responsibilities also involve NCQA, pharmacy appeals, P&T
Committee, Member and Provider relations.
Gary’s also has experience as pharmacy manager for a national long term care company, pharmacy manager for retail pharmacy chain, and Pharmacy Director for a National Health Care provider. He has also been a pharmacy instructor at local medical college family practice clinic.
Eddie Maria is Vice President of Sales and Account Management for TruHearing. He joined the company in June 2015 as a Sales Director for the Western region. He has been instrumental in helping TruHearing grow to cover more than 130 million lives, developing many new partnerships with health plans, labor unions, and self-funded organizations. Promoted to VP of Sales in 2017, he leads the effort to promote TruHearing as the industry’s premier hearing healthcare solution. Eddie has worked in the healthcare industry for more than 22 years. His past experience includes positions in the pharmaceutical and lab industry.
Catherine Macpherson, MS, RDN
Catherine joined Mom’s Meals in 2017 as Vice President, Product Strategy and Development and Chief
Nutrition Officer. She is responsible for ensuring the company’s nutrition solutions meet the needs of
its partners by designing clinical programs that meet their strategic objectives.
Previously, Macpherson served as Vice President of Medication Adherence and Immunizations at Walgreens, led Healthcare Product Strategy at WebMD, and managed health and wellness programs for Ceridian, the National Institute of Health and the American Institute for Cancer Research.
Catherine is a Registered Dietitian, a healthcare innovator, and a frequent speaker on the importance of nutrition to the aging population, care transitions and those managing chronic conditions.
Macpherson earned her Masters of Science degree in Nutrition from the University of Minnesota and her BA from the University of Michigan.
Windsor Richmond is the Field Sales Manager for Anthem Blue Cross. She oversees the Field Sales
team in San Bernardino and Riverside County in Southern California. She’s been in the Medicare
insurance industry 18+ years and has gained her experience by working at multiple Fortune 100
insurance companies. Her role with Anthem entails managing, coaching, business development,
and knowledge of all Medicare products. She works closely with Anthem leadership in analyzing
the territories against competition and growth opportunities. Throughout the years she has also
had the opportunity to manage the Individual Sales Agents/Brokers.
Medicare has continued to be a passion for Windsor. Having an understanding of Medicare since the inception of the Medicare Advantage, she’s had the opportunity to help improve the lives of Medicare beneficiaries and as well as individuals working in the industry. Her favorite lesson is knowing the history of Medicare. She recommends you to google a video presented by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicare and Medicaid at 50.
Windsor, lives in Southern California and has two wonderful sons. She’s an avid sports fan and her favorite team is the Los Angeles Lakers. She holds a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of LaVerne and a M.H.A from Walden University.
A 30+ year marketing veteran, Ezio has been Director of Marketing & Communications of
ConnectiCare since 2002. He currently focuses on senior markets, spearheading the company’s
acquisition and retention efforts through strategic planning and implementation of marketing
and lead generation programs.
ConnectiCare has been dedicated to making Connecticut a healthier place to live and work since it was founded in 1981 by a group of doctors. A local company for more than 35 years, they have a full range of products and services for businesses, municipalities, individuals and those who are Medicare-eligible.
Ezio’s passion for health care aligns with ConnectiCare’s mission to provide new and easier ways for its members to get the care they need. He is dedicated to continual improvement of the member experience, from acquisition and onboarding to renewal and helping members getting the most out of their plan.
Before joining ConnectiCare, Ezio helped elevate commercial health products to market prominence through various marketing positions at PHS Health Plans, a Health Net Company from 1991-2001.
Ezio obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing with a minor in psychology from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT. A lifelong resident of Stratford, CT, he and his wife Lysa have 3 children and 1 grandchild. Ezio is also a dog lover and die-hard Green Bay Packers fan, and loves a good Springsteen show.
Mr. Jensen is Vice President for Independent Care Health Plan (iCare) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Independent Care is a licensed Wisconsin insurer serving special needs individuals through a Medicaid
SSI MCO, a Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan (MA-SNP) and a Fully-Integrated Dual Eligible SNP
Mr. Jensen is responsible for all of iCare's sales, marketing, public relations and new business development activities. Mr. Jensen reports to iCare's President and CEO. Previously, Mr. Jensen was Corporate Strategy and Compliance Officer for Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin, a staff-model HMO consistently ranked among NCQA's top ten nationally. Throughout his career, Mr. Jensen has developed many commercial and government-sponsored managed care products. Mr. Jensen began his career in advertising, working on national brands such
as Famous Footwear, Mercury Marine and Miller-Coors. Mr. Jensen holds an MBA in marketing and a BA in journalism from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He participates in workgroups and studies sponsored by the National Health Policy Group's SNP Alliance, the Center for Health Care Strategies, the National Quality Forum and the National Committee on Quality Assurance.
Billy Justice has over 20 years of experience as the Director of Marketing and Member Services for Vantage Health Plan, a Louisiana Health Maintenance Organization (HMO).
Vantage was created by physicians who wanted to help their patients and Louisiana employers manage the ever-increasing healthcare costs. This philosophy has set it apart from other insurance companies and that is a primary reason why it has been so successful.
In June of 1996, Billy wrote the very first fully-insured Vantage policy which is now marketed throughout Louisiana. Billy was also instrumental in the development of the key products and outstanding customer service that have set Vantage apart from the industry standard. Vantage is helping lead the reform of healthcare in Louisiana by proving that coordinated care works through its Medical Home Model.
Billy is actively involved with the Louisiana Associations of Health Plans, Louisiana Health Underwriters, and has served on the board level of numerous civic and charitable organizations.
Thomas Sass joined BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York in 2012 and is the company’s
director, consumer markets.
Possessing nearly 20 years of product management experience, Sass is responsible for overseeing the sales strategy and execution of an insurance portfolio that includes Medicare Advantage and Medigap, Individual (on and off-exchange), Federal Employee Program (FEP), and New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) products. In his tenure with BlueCross BlueShield, Sass has also overseen small employer group account management and Medicaid Managed Care.
Previously, Sass worked as an engineer, global product manager, and entrepreneur in various industries including, building and construction, printing, and nanotechnology. He received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and master's degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
An expert in operational performance and excellence, Jenny has over 15 years of experience developing and implementing innovative organizational strategies to improve overall business performance and utilization. As a founding partner, Jenny has led engagements for clients in the Health Insurance and Insurance brokerage industries. Her functional expertise includes customer service, correspondence, claims, medical management, enrollment, brokerage servicing, policy management, underwriting operations, requirements development, and information technology.
Working in collaboration with executives and their teams, Jenny focuses on developing strategic recommendations that make a positive impact on the customer experience by vastly improving internal processes and management. Jenny has led instructional design teams, developed member-centric operating models and best in industry training and skills development programs. Effective in both off- and on-shore projects, Jenny has experience handling aggressive ramp up timelines including 30-day implementations.
A recognized Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) and a Lectora Certified Advanced Author, an eLearning development tool. Jenny was a member of the Honor’s Program at Babson College and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
Nicole Williams has over 20 years of sales and marketing experience, with the last 5 years of it in
healthcare as the Director of the Healthcare practice within RRD. Nicole is responsible for supporting
the marketing and communication efforts of RRD’s health plan clients. She works with Medicare plans
of all sizes across the country to build and execute their marketing campaigns.
As a thought leader in the healthcare space, Nicole has become a valued advisor, status quo disruptor and an on-going source of valuable ideas to her health plan clients so that they can deliver more efficient and effective communications, while remaining compliant.
Saeed founded Decision Point with the mission of improving health plan clinical, financial and operational performance through informed, data-driven predictions on strategic decisions. He has more than 25 years of health information technology experience, with a track record of developing innovative approaches to solve complex business problems. He has held key senior management positions at Eliza Corporation, Ingenix (currently Optum), IHCIS and ProVentive, where led high-performing teams focused creative uses of technology for practical problem-solving. Saeed is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University with a BA in Economics.
Henry W. Osowski
Hank Osowski, a Founding Member of Strategic Health Group, is an experienced health care executive and strategist who has provided leadership to commercial, Medicare and Medicaid health plans for more than 30 years. He currently is the Managing Director of Strategic Health Group, a new boutique strategic and financial advisory firm dedicated to bringing seasoned leadership to enable health care organizations to succeed in a challenging and changing environment. He is an expert in Medicare Advantage and Medicaid long-term care strategies.
Formerly, as Senior Vice President Corporate Development, he was a key member of the senior leadership team that the company from a near death experience to an exceptionally strong financial position. He led SCAN Group's efforts to expand into seven additional California counties. Hank also led SCAN's entry into Arizona and served as the initial President of SCAN Health Plan Arizona and SCAN Long Term Care. The service area expansions represent approximately a quarter of SCAN's membership and added nearly $450 million to SCAN's revenue. He also led the organization's strategic planning efforts and initiated an innovation development regimen to seek improvements in care coordination practices and future care outcome protocols.
Prior to SCAN, Hank served as a Principal in a national health care consulting organization providing a range of strategic, financial and development services for health plans, physician groups and hospitals. He began his California career as a member of the senior management team responsible for the turnaround and financial survival of Blue Cross of California. In this capacity, Hank led the financial turnaround of the Individual and Small Group Division and provided leadership to the organization's strategic planning efforts.
Earlier he served as Vice President International Operations for American Family Life Assurance Corporation where he directed the activities of the company's Canadian and European operations. In this role he directed the development of start-up operations in the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy, as well as the financial turnaround of the company's Canadian operations. Earlier, Hank also served as Director of Insurance Consulting Services for Coopers and Lybrand, a predecessor to PriceWaterhouse Coopers.
Throughout his career, he has been a frequent speaker on critical issues and challenges facing the Medicare and Medicaid programs. In 2011, Hank spoke to the Managed Medicaid Congress about principles for structuring effective long term care programs, to the Medicare Market Innovations conference about opportunities for strengthening a plan's five star quality rating and offered his strategic projections for the future of Medicare. He also spoke to a diverse health care and technology audience at the Healthcare Unbound conference about leveraging the power of technology to improve the quality of health outcomes and care interventions.