Michigan Association of Health Plans

Michigan Association of Health Plans Recognizes Health Care Leaders at Annual Conference

The Economic Alliance for Michigan, Joan Budden, former CEO of Priority Health, Teri Morante, former chief deputy director of the Department of Insurance and Financial Services, and Michigan Senator Lauwers, were recognized recently for their contributions to addressing state health care issues. The awards were presented during the Michigan Association of Health Plans’ annual summer conference at Grand Traverse Resort on July 29, 2021.

Sen. Lauwers (R-Capac) received the 2021 Legislator of the Year award. This award recognizes lawmakers who have demonstrated initiative and leadership in support of issues that advocate for high quality, affordable and accessible health care for Michigan citizens.

Lauwers has advocated for improved access to care for Michigan Citizens, particularly to Michigan’s small businesses. He addresses core issues such as surprise billing, and his determined work on MAHP’s Health Insurance Data Availability and Transparency Act (HIDATA) legislation, which he has introduced twice now, testifies to his comprehensive vision for better health for Michigan citizens.

“Sen. Lauwers has been a leader on challenging MAHP members in providing cost-effective health care to Michigan citizens, working each day to make Michigan better place for patients,” said Pallone. “He is always willing to stand up for Michiganders and is an enthusiastic member of and voice on committees affecting our industry.”

The Economic Alliance for Michigan, a long-time partner of MAHP, received the 2021 MAHP Presidential Recognition Award for its outstanding commitment to the MAHP’s mission to the advancement and improvement of high quality, affordable, accessible health care for the citizens of Michigan. The Economic Alliance has worked on promoting a legislative and regulatory environment that will provide for fair competition within the health care industry.

“The Economic Alliance for Michigan has been a crucial leader in the health care industry,” said MAHP Executive Director Dominick Pallone. “We have found The Economic Alliance to be an astute partner in defending against legislative issues that would increase health care costs to employer purchasers. The Economic Alliance has always been willing to help educate policy makers on the far too often unintended cost increases which would result from proposed policy changes.”

MAHP awarded Teri Morant, former chief deputy director of the Department of Insurance and Financial Services with the Eugene Farnum Award. This award honors those whose lifetime work reflects the values that Gene Farnum exemplified: collaboration, compromise, fairness and integrity — and who share his vision of access to quality, affordable health care for Michigan citizens.

For the past 30 years, Morant’s unwavering efforts have advanced the MAHP’s mission. Her depth of knowledge and leadership skills in the industry, as well as her commitment to improving the quality of life for all Michigan residents assures that the public’s interest is always served and that Michigan’s most vulnerable citizens are protected.

“Teri’s ability to forge relationships with those of differing opinions is crucial, “ said Pallone. “She exemplifies the spirit of collaboration that was Gene’s operating principle throughout his professional career, and this award conveys our deep appreciation and long-deserved recognition for her service not just to MAHP but to Michigan citizens who benefited from her work.”

MAHP’s most prestigious award, the Ellis J. Bonner Outstanding Achievement Award, was given to Joan Budden. Budden is the former CEO and president of Priority Health. Her leadership led to an extremely well-run plan that remains a leader across the industry. Priority Health is the second largest and fastest growing health plan in Michigan, with over 1 million members. Budden grew the company and left a legacy of success.

“Joan Budden unmistakably meets the criteria of this prestigious award. She has shown leadership throughout her career in the development of many partnerships with local agencies and community organizations that align with the mission of the MAHP,” Pallone said. “While fiercly competitive at times, I have always found her to be laser focused on improving consumer choice of health insurance providers, and an excellent advocate for the betterment of our industry.”

The Bonner award recognizes a MAHP member who has been nominated by colleagues based upon exemplary service, leadership and contributions to the managed care industry and community. The late Ellis Bonner was a father of the health maintenance organization movement in Michigan, a mentor to many and a tireless promoter of accessible health care system for Michigan citizens.