GRAND RAPIDS — Praveen Thadani, a veteran health insurance executive with 25 years of industry experience, becomes Priority Health’s new president early next month.
Thadani joins the Grand Rapids-based Priority Health from Humana Inc. in Chicago, where he’s worked for seven years as Illinois market president and leading strategic planning across several business lines as senior vice president of strategy, product and innovation.
He succeeds Joan Budden, who retires Dec. 31 after 12 years with Priority Health, including the last five as CEO.
The ability to “harness” and build on Priority Health’s success and momentum, along with a local orientation, community involvement and “very deep appreciation for creating vibrance in the community through health care is the main thing that really resonated with me, and what really attracted me to this opportunity is an ability to really make a difference,” Thadani told MiBiz.
Thadani also was drawn by the “curiosity, courage and collaboration” behind the health plan’s strategic vision.
“The ability to harness that and create and accelerate that momentum was very attractive to me,” he said.
His background in value-based care and issues like cost transparency — which have been among Priority’s key strategic focuses for years — as well as an emphasis on affordability were lures as well.
Thandani views his professional experience as a “really neat fit” with Priority Health.
“Overarchingly, I think Priority Health is really well positioned to be very successful in the future,” he said. “The leadership team is incredibly strong, the vision is incredibly strong, the strategic elements that they have set out to accomplish are incredibly strong, the support from (parent company) Spectrum Health appears to be very strong, and the marketplace appears to be very receptive.”
Prior to Humana, Thadani worked in executive positions for 12 years at national health carrier UnitedHealth Group Inc. and its pharmacy benefits manager, Optum. His background includes working in public health and consulting.
Priority Health parent corporation Spectrum Health selected Thadani after a national search for a new president. Rockford, Ill.-based executive search firm Furst Group assisted with the search.
“Praveen is a transformative health care leader with extensive industry experience and a passion for innovation and developing talent,” said Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO of Spectrum Health, which owns a 93.9 percent stake in Priority Health. “His commitment to building relationships with members, employers, agents and providers will help us maintain the momentum we have created as we continue working to provide affordable access to care and have a positive impact on the communities we serve.”
Priority Health is the second-largest health plan in Michigan with more than 1 million people enrolled in individual, group commercial, Medicare and Medicaid policies.