New Jersey’s largest health insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, announced Tuesday that Gary D. St. Hilaire will succeed Kevin P. Conlin as president and chief executive.

When the change takes effect April 6, Conlin, who was appointed CEO in 2017, will become executive chairman.

The top executive shift comes as the Newark company seeks to change the type of corporation it is to give it more flexibility.

St. Hilaire is currently president and CEO of Capital Blue Cross, a Harrisburg company that sells insurance in 21 counties in Central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. St. Hilaire joined Capital in 2005 as chief financial officer and became president in 2010 before taking the top job two years later. Capital does not disclose revenue or the number of customers it has, a spokesperson said Tuesday.

Horizon had $13 billion in revenue in 2018 and has nearly 3.7 million customers in a variety of businesses, according to its annual report.

Gary St. Hilaire, shown here in the offices of Capital Blue Cross, has been named the new president and chief executive of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state's largest health insurer.
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield
Gary St. Hilaire, shown here in the offices of Capital Blue Cross, has been named the new president and chief executive of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state's largest health insurer.

As executive chairman, Conlin will continue to be involved in Horizon’s “planned corporate form transition that will increase the company’s investment in New Jersey’s health-care economy,” Horizon said.

That proposal, announced by Horizon in November, would make Horizon a nonprofit mutual holding company. It is currently a nonprofit health service corporation. One big difference is that right now, Horizon may invest only up to 2% of its reserves in a single entity. It is also limited in the amount of revenue it can have from businesses that are outside the traditional health insurance sector. Those shackles would come off if the change happened.

The New Jersey Legislature must change the law to make the switch possible. The change would come with a steep price. A bill introduced last year that would allow Horizon to apply to become a nonprofit mutual holding company would require the company to pay a share of its revenue to the state, up to $1 billion over six years.