Health Insurance Co-op Gets Its First Chief Executive

By MATTHEW STURDEVANT, msturdevant@courant.com

The Hartford Courant

4:08 PM EST, December 19, 2012


A new health insurance co-op that hopes to offer coverage next fall for the following year has its first chief executive.

HealthyCT, the consumer-operated and oriented plan, announced Wednesday that Ken Lalime, 56, is the first CEO. Lalime was among 175 candidates. The Norwalk resident has served as interim chief operating officer of HealthyCT and starts in his new job on Jan. 1.

His salary is $340,000. There is some opportunity for bonuses, developed and approved by the HealthyCT board of directors. There are no stock options, because it is a nonprofit, and there is no other compensation, such as a car allowance, the co-op said.

HealthyCT received $75.8 million in federal loans to develop the co-op, headquartered at 35 Thorpe Ave. in Wallingford.

The Affordable Care Act created consumer-operated and oriented plans, or co-ops, to increase competition and provide alternatives to plans offered by private health insurance companies. HealthyCT is a nonprofit that plans to use any financial surplus from operations to benefit its members by improving health benefits, improving quality of care, expanding enrollment, lower premiums, among other possible measures.

HealthyCT is planning to sell health plans in the fall of 2013 to begin coverage in January 2014. The co-op is in the process of having its health plans reviewed by regulators at the Connecticut Insurance Department.

"Early in my career, as a small business owner, I learned the importance of collaboration and teamwork," Lalime said in a prepared statement. "I am honored to lead this initiative, and I look forward to building an organization with these values. Working together with our community organizations and stakeholders, we will make HealthyCT a quality, affordable health-care choice for consumers and small businesses in Connecticut."

Since 1998, Lalime has been the executive director of the Connecticut State Medical Society IPA, which is an association of medical practices representing 7,000 doctors. Before that position, Lalime was chief operating officer at The Physicians Corporation, a business development manager at Primergy and he worked for 17 years at Norwalk Hospital. He also co-owned Cranbury Pharmacy in Norwalk.

Lalime is a registered pharmacist and he holds a bachelor of science in pharmacy from the University of Connecticut.

HealthyCT has one employee now, but the group anticipates having about 35 workers by the end of next year.

"Ken's extensive health-care background, his in-depth understanding of the Connecticut marketplace and his passion for improving care delivery were key factors in our decision," Dr. David S. Katz, president of the HealthyCT board of directors said in a prepared statement. "In his interview, Ken told us how his belief in the power of community and partnership has guided him professionally; HealthyCT is an opportunity to act on this belief and truly engage our Connecticut communities and our member partnerships."