Connect for Health Colorado Board Selects New Officers

DENVER (July 14, 2014) – At its annual meeting today, the Connect for Health Colorado® Board of Directors  unanimously elected Sharon O’Hara, Executive Vice President of the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, as the new Chair. O’Hara has been a board member since 2013 and replaces outgoing Chair Gretchen Hammer, who will continue to serve on the Board.

Also re-elected unanimously were Arnold Salazar, Executive Director of Colorado Health Partnerships, as Vice Chair, and Mike Fallon, MD, an emergency physician at North Colorado Medical Center, as Board Secretary.

Other board members include Gretchen Hammer, Executive Director of the Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved; Richard Betts, owner of ASAP Accounting & Payroll Inc.; Ellen Daehnick of Helliemae’s Handcrafted Caramels; Steve ErkenBrack, President of Rocky Mountain Health Plans; Eric Grossman, President & CEO of NextHealth Technologies; and Nathan Wilkes, founder of Headstorms, Inc. Ex-officio (non-voting) members are Susan Birch, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Healthcare Policy and Financing; Kevin Patterson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Gov. John Hickenlooper; and Marguerite Salazar, Commissioner of Insurance.

In accepting the position, O’Hara praised her fellow board members for doing “six years of work in the past three years of its existence.”

“I’m proud of the success the Marketplace has had in expanding coverage for Coloradans. As we approach the next open enrollment this fall, we urge consumers to shop the new plans and rates and look for options that best fit your needs, whether you are renewing or signing up for the first time,” says O’Hara.

“We’re thankful to have someone like Sharon, who has so much experience in helping Coloradans access healthcare, take on leadership of our Board as we head into this very important next chapter and second open enrollment period,” says Connect for Health Colorado Chief Operating Officer Lindy Hinman. “Sharon has demonstrated a deep commitment to our mission of improving access, choice and affordability for Coloradans in need of health insurance.”

The Staff and Board also praised Hammer’s service.

“We’ve been so fortunate to have had Gretchen Hammer take a lead for our state as it tackled some very complicated healthcare challenges. She was instrumental in the early formation and development of the Marketplace, and helped set a very high standard for the organization as our first Board Chair,” says Connect for Health Chief Executive Officer Patty Fontneau.  “I’m thrilled Gretchen will continue to serve and remains so dedicated to the ongoing success of Connect for Health Colorado.”

Hammer steps down after three years as Chair and following a successful Oct. 1, 2013 launch of the Marketplace, which has helped more than 140,000 Coloradans enroll for private health insurance.

About Connect for Health Colorado:
Through state laws, Connect for Health Colorado was established as a non-profit organization with a Colorado mission to improve choice, access and affordability to private health insurance.  Just 18 months after hiring technology vendors, Colorado’s own health insurance Marketplace opened October 1, 2013, with a full shopping website and a statewide network of trained and certified experts to help customers.
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