The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has named the head of Connecticut's Obamacare program to run for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

Kevin Counihan will join CMS officially as Marketplace Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  In addition, Lori Lodes has been named the new Director of Communications for CMS.

In his role as Marketplace CEO, Counihan will be responsible and accountable for leading the federal marketplace, managing relationships with state marketplaces, and running the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, which regulates health insurance at the federal level.  He will report to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.

Counihan is an experienced senior executive with more than three decades of success in business, marketing, operations, product development and strategic planning for health care organizations.  He most recently served as Connecticut’s Health Insurance Exchange CEO, a role he was chosen for by Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, and during which he oversaw the successful implementation of the state’s marketplace, where enrollment exceeded expectations.  Connecticut was the first state to surpass the goal for Affordable Care Act enrollees, and since 2012, the state’s uninsured rate has been cut nearly in half – from 7.9 percent to 4.0 percent.  Nine states have contacted Connecticut’s exchange about implementing its technology.