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Health Care Service Corporation Announces Multiple Leadership Promotions to Build for the Future

CHICAGO -- Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), the nation’s largest customer owned health insurance company, today announced several executive-level promotions to support its business plan to advance overall growth, innovation and transformation. The promotions, effective February 1, 2021, are also in line with the company’s long history and culture of promoting from within.  

“These executive leadership promotions reflect HCSC’s long history of cultivating and developing versatile talent capable of advancing the mission and long-term goals of HCSC in the dynamic health care industry,” said Maurice Smith, president and CEO of HCSC. “Throughout their tenure at the company, these individuals have proven themselves to be exceptionally strong leaders, champions of our teams and our approach to business. I am enthusiastic about our future and maintaining a strong culture of putting our customers first and creating long-term sustainable value for them and other stakeholders.”

The heart of HCSC’s culture is putting members at the center of everything we do — and that demands a capable and dedicated team. Providing ongoing professional development, opportunities and resources helps ensure we have the right talent for the right roles at the right time. Continuous improvement and growth are vital to our ability to deliver on our purpose and our commitment to promoting innovation, expanding access to affordable health care and providing a high-quality experience to our members.

Several HCSC leaders started with the company as interns, and the average tenure of senior leaders at the company is over 17 years. Additionally, nearly 32 percent of HCSC’s employees have been with the company for more than 10 years. The promotions are as follows:

Dr. Opella Ernest is promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Opella will retain and continue to lead Information Technology, Customer Service, Health Care Management and Data Analytics.

Jeff Tikkanen is promoted to Executive Vice President, Commercial Markets. Jeff will retain and continue to lead commercial markets, product design and development, pharmacy solutions and market operations, including broker and consultant operations and relationships.

James Walsh will assume the role of Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Jim currently leads the Financial Services division and has held positions of increasing responsibility within HCSC’s finance divisions for more than 13 years. Prior to joining HCSC, he was a partner at Ernst & Young LLP where he acquired a deep understanding of insurance company operations, accounting practices and internal controls over financial reporting.

Nathan Linsley will assume the role of Senior Vice President, Government Programs. He will lead the company’s government business and deliver on its commitment to elevate performance in the Medicaid and Medicare Advantage programs. Nathan previously was a Divisional Senior Vice President of Treasury and Corporate Strategy, responsible for the development and articulation of the company’s corporate strategy as well as all capital planning and allocation activities. Nathan’s strategic work to strengthen our government programs operations will serve him well in his new role.


About Health Care Service Corporation 
Health Care Service Corporation is the country's largest customer-owned health insurer, with nearly 16 million members in its health plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. A Mutual Legal Reserve Company, HCSC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Media Contact

Greg Thompson

Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company.