February 01, 2013

From The Plain Dealer
By Carrie Ghose

Medical Mutual of Ohio has hired Veronica Hawkins from Mount Carmel Health System to a newly created position to oversee management of the commercial health insurer’s accounts with state employees and four of the five Ohio public pension systems.

Hawkins had worked 13 years for MediGold, Mount Carmel’s Medicare Advantage plan, the past four as its COO and CFO, according to her LinkedIn profile.

At Medical Mutual’s office overlooking Columbus Commons, she will oversee negotiations and plan design for the Department of Administrative Services and benefits for under-65 members of the pension plans Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, Ohio Highway Patrol Retirement System, State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio and School Employees Retirement System of Ohio.

“They’re extremely important customers of ours,” said Jared Chaney, executive vice president and head of sales.

He said the accounts had been served well from the Cleveland headquarters, racking up “a lot of highway time,” but early last year he proposed a locally based contact to improve service.

Chaney said of the candidates identified by a recruiting firm, Hawkins was “impressive from the get-go,” combining knowledge of the market with fresh ideas for controlling health-care costs.

The insurer also has a Powell office, with nearly 60 employees in Central Ohio overall.

Hawkins, 36, of Delaware, graduated from John Carroll University in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and after a brief stint with an accounting firm stated with Mount Carmel Health Plan Inc. as a finance analyst in 1999. The plan later adopted the MediGold brand name.

“It was very hard to leave,” she said. “It was perfect timing and perfect opportunity.”

Through the first nine months of 2012, MediGold had a net underwriting gain of $30.8 million on revenue of $272 million, according to reports filed with the Department of Insurance. For the same period, Medical Mutual had net underwriting gain of $70.1 million on $1.76 billion in revenue.