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July 17, 2020

Dear Valued GPAHU Members and Corporate Partners:

I hope this message finds you healthy and enjoying the fruits of summer as much as reasonably possible under the current conditions.   Our collective mission as GPAHU members of providing quality affordable healthcare for all the citizens we serve has never been more important.  Since current circumstances do not allow us to meet in-person, I thought it was important to take a moment and provide an update regarding several topics.

Programming

Just as you continue to realize your own business goals under current conditions, the GPAHU continues its mission to Educate, Communicate & Advocate. Subsequently, we are pleased to announce that there will be an Annual Conference in 2020The virtual format of this year’s event will be livestreamed September 16th from 9-11am.  Our Executive Director, Karen Weinlader Mardis will be reaching out to you shortly to discuss how we can promote your organization’s value proposition to all participants.  This year’s event will feature keynote Speaker G. Terry Madonna. Dr, Madonna is Professor of Public Affairs and Director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College.  Moreover, as the Director of the Franklin & Marshall College Poll, Dr. Madonna will undoubtedly be sharing powerful insights regarding the upcoming election, and its impact on our community. In addition, as we prepare to labor though fourth quarter 2020, and look forward to a fresh start in 2021, this year’s conference will feature valuable insights from the major insurance carriers in our market.  Perhaps most importantly, Vicky Cagliola, GPAHU Legislative Chair will provide a comprehensive regional and national legislative update.  The conference will be free for all GPAHU members.  

Activities

In the spirit of ensuring the safety of our members, not surprisingly, the GPAHU Board of Directors has determined it is best to cancel the 2020 Annual Golf Outing planned for October 5th. However, you can count on us to bring this event back in 2021 when we are better positioned as a community to enjoy the networking and camaraderie that accompanies the annual outing. 

Leadership 

I am delighted to announce two new members to our GPAHU Board of Directors.

Michael Pedone, Chief Operating Officer at Flexible Benefit Plans Inc

As many of you may already know, Mike has worked in our industry for approximately 30 years holding senior leadership positions on both the carrier and general agency sides of the business. Those of us fortunate to have worked with Mike appreciate his experience, collaborative nature and unassuming style which makes him an outstanding addition to the GPAHU leadership team. Mike was born and raised in South Philadelphia, and is an active volunteer with Urban Promise. Interestingly, Mike’s son, Jonathan, recently completed the GPAHU’s Emerging Leadership Program for 2019 – 2020. 

Cristina Pergament, Vice President of Sales at Cigna

Cristy’s upward trajectory in our industry has been delightful to see firsthand. Cristy is currently responsible for the execution of Cigna’s local market sales strategy for the Under 500 Buyer Group, maintaining consistency with Cigna’s overall value proposition that achieves the highest levels of client and customer retention, competitive positioning, and membership earnings growth.  Cristy is greatly admired throughout our region for her willingness to go the extra mile for anyone or anything she cares about, and we at GPAHU are excited to have her on our team.  

There are two additional changes to the Board I would like to mention.  First, after more than 20 years of providing NAHU Leadership at the local, state and national levels, Scott Mardis has stepped down. Over the past two decades, Scott has served as the President for both the GPAHU and the Pennsylvania Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU) as well as Chair of NAHU’s Professional Development Committee. Secondly, after several years of active participation, Katie Shaton, Senior New Business Manager at Cigna has rotated from our board. I admire, and will miss Katie’s participation, as she contributed quietly, markedly, and without the need of recognition.

Thanks to your continued support as a corporate partner, we are able to enjoy great strength in numbers, and currently sit as the second largest NAHU Chapter in the nation.  Only with your ongoing support can we successfully represent those who serve the health insurance needs of employers and individuals seeking health insurance coverage.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly at christopherhandley@savoyassociates.com or our Executive Director, Karen Weinlader Mardis, at kwmardis@gpahu.net with any questions or thoughts. Stay healthy, safe, positive, and comforted by knowing how valuable our collective efforts are to the people we serve.

Respectfully,

Chris Handley

GPAHU President

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