When you’re working to keep the wheels of government turning, you might not spend too much time thinking about your health insurance provider. So, tens of thousands of state workers and other public employees in the Tallahassee area may not give much thought to how good the regional HMO, Capital Health Plan (CHP), really is.
The answer is: It’s good … very, very good. One of the truly best in the nation. But it’s now undergoing its first leadership change in more than four decades. That makes it a good time for those public servants, and thousands of private-sector workers in the Tallahassee area who are members of CHP, to count their blessings.
Operating largely out of the spotlight, CHP has built itself into one of the very best anywhere. It’s a bit of a hybrid — part insurance company and part health care provider. Throughout its storied history, CHP has had just one leader at the top charting its path to success: CEO John Hogan. But Hogan’s very recent retirement means there is a new face at the top of the org chart for the first time since 1978.
Transitions are a way of life in Tallahassee, where every election cycle starts a new game of musical chairs. But even in the capital city, it’s different when the person leaving is a legend — think Bobby Bowden in 2009, Mike Martin a decade later, John Thrasher two years ago.
Hogan has become a legend, too — one of the most respected and renowned health care executives in the nation. His successor, long-time CHP executive Sabin Bass, has some enormous shoes to fill (and not just because of Hogan’s size; he stands six and a half feet tall.) CHP’s board is confident they have the right man for the job.
For decades, CHP has held a contract with the state of Florida to provide health insurance coverage for the state’s workforce around the Capitol, a footprint that now covers nine counties. It also contracts with numerous school districts and county governments in the area, as well as commercial and Medicare members. As any employer will tell you, a strong benefits package is one of the best ways to lure and keep your workforce happy and productive, and CHP has long been a key component of the benefits enjoyed by Tallahassee-based state workers and other public and private employees.
But unlike many insurance companies, CHP also provides direct patient care at multiple locations around the Big Bend area, with a team of in-house physicians and a large network of external health care providers. And when state employees and other members retire, CHP’s Medicare Advantage plans are among the highest rated in Florida and nationally. CHP has consistently been recognized as one of the top plans in Florida, and among the best in the nation by the respected National Committee for Quality Assurance.
All of which is to say, CHP is an integral part of life in the capital city. How well it serves the state workforce and other public employees has a ripple effect on the rest of us, the taxpayers.
None of this would have been possible without Hogan’s steady, forward-thinking leadership over the past 44 years, and he will be greatly missed. Fortunately, for the sake of the state workforce and those who pay for coverage through CHP, he laid a groundwork for Capital Health Plan to continue to effectively and efficiently serve well into the future — with a successor in Bass who has earned the CEO post and has stepped up to the job in a truly seamless transition.