Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana names new CEO

(File photo)

A longtime health insurance executive is taking over the top spot at Baton Rouge-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.

The Louisiana insurer’s board of directors has named Bryan Camerlinck as president and CEO, following Steve Udvarhelyi’s decision to retire after serving in the role for more than eight years.

The announcement comes nearly three months after Blue Cross withdrew a plan of reorganization and sale to Elevance Health for a second time.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Bryan’s experience and track record succeed Steve Udvarhelyi as President and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana,” Chairman Jerry Greig said in a prepared statement. “Bryan has the strategic vision coupled with the tactical leadership experience to address the challenges and opportunities that Blue Cross and its employees face in serving our members, providers and brokers in today’s evolving health care environment.”

Camerlinck joined BCBSLA in 2016 as chief financial officer and was promoted to the role of executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2021, where he had financial and operational responsibility for all lines of business at Blue Cross.

Camerlinck has also previously served as chairman of the board and president and CEO of Vantage Health Plan, now operating as Primewell Health Services in Arkansas and Mississippi, wholly owned subsidiaries of BCBSLA. 

Prior to joining BCBSLA, Camerlinck was an executive with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City for more than 20 years, including CFO and president and CEO of the company’s subsidiaries. He began his career as an auditor with Ernst and Young, after earning degrees in accounting and pre-law from Kansas State University. 

Udvarhelyi joined BCBSLA as president and CEO in 2016. Under his purview, the organization saw significant expansion, including into government business and offering Medicare products in each of Louisiana’s 64 parishes. BCBSLA completed its strategic acquisition of Vantage Holdings in 2019, adding deep Medicare Advantage experience and resources to the company. In addition, BCBSLA inked a joint venture with Elevance Health called Healthy Blue, which serves almost 300,000 Medicaid members. 

Udvarhelyi had previously expressed to Business Report staff earlier this year that he was nearing the end of his career and that he intended to remain with BCBSLA as it completed its proposed sale to Elevance, which was withdrawn in February amid concerns. 

“Serving as president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has been an honor and a privilege, and I am proud of the accomplishments we have made during these last eight years,” Udvarhelyi said in a prepared statement. “Today, we are the only health insurer in the state that offers a product for every Louisianian in every parish, no matter their walk of life.”

Camerlinck will immediately take the reins, according to the organization’s announcement. Udvarhelyi, in an effort to assist in the transition, will assume a new role of special advisor to the board and CEO until his retirement in July.

“This is a carefully planned succession,” Greig says. “We know that the status quo will not work in the complex health care environment we are facing today.”