Deborah L. Rice-Johnson, CEO of Diversified Businesses and Chief Growth Officer

Deborah L. Rice-Johnson

CEO of Diversified Businesses and Chief Growth Officer

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Deborah Rice-Johnson is CEO of Diversified Businesses for Highmark Inc. and chief growth officer. She is an innovative health leader, driven by a passion for reinventing health care experiences and pioneering provider relationships designed to keep care close to home and change antiquated reimbursement methods. Through diverse and inventive relationships ranging from joint ventures to equity interest partnerships, she has spearheaded affiliations and clinical alliances with Penn State Health and many other regionally-based health care providers.

Ms. Rice-Johnson leads a national network of diversified businesses and market-leading capabilities collectively known as Alloyed Works, which drive growth, reduce costs and improve outcomes for Highmark Health, as well as forward-thinking health organization customers across the country. As CEO of Diversified Businesses, she is responsible for Highmark subsidiaries including: United Concordia Dental, a top ten national dental plan that serves the largest voluntary dental program in the world with TRICARE; HM Insurance Group, a top ten national stop loss carrier with additional managed care reinsurance solutions; and Helion, a health care technology and services firm that helps payers cultivate high-performing networks while empowering providers to operate at their best.

As chief growth officer, Ms. Rice-Johnson is responsible for pursuing a range of strategic partnerships, affiliations and acquisitions that enables Highmark to unlock the shared value to organizations and transform healthcare. Together, we will realize the potential of a Living Health model, which creates a better system for customers and clinicians through innovative solutions and partnerships while strengthening community-based care, improving health outcomes and lowering costs for members.

When in her role as president of Highmark Inc., Ms. Rice-Johnson provided senior leadership and strategic direction for the company’s multi-state health insurance organization. During this time, she guided Highmark through successful affiliations in Delaware, West Virginia, Western and Northeastern New York, as well as a merger in Northeastern Pennsylvania. As a result, Highmark Health Plans are now among the largest Blue Plans in the country, serving approximately 7 million members and Highmark Inc. revenue has grown to approximately $26 billion.

Ms. Rice-Johnson has more than 30 years of experience in the health insurance industry. Her leadership has not only redefined the payer-provider relationship and yielded unparalleled financial performance, but she has also delivered innovative clinical solutions that aim to improve health outcomes. She is also keenly committed to positively impacting the employment situation of our nation’s military veterans and those with disabilities through championing private-sector hiring efforts.

Ms. Rice-Johnson holds a bachelor's degree in business management from Carlow University. In 2014, she was named a Carlow Laureate, the university's most prestigious alumni award recognizing those whose work, thought and action demonstrate the highest standards of professional accomplishment and leadership. She was also named to Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Women Leaders in 2022, a program honoring female executives who are guiding health care delivery improvement across the country.

Current Board affiliations:

  • Evio, Chairman
  • Highmark Ventures, President
  • Penn State Health
  • Dollar Bank
  • Synergie Medication Collective
  • Mindera Health
  • Carlow University
  • CivicaRx Script
  • The United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania
  • Epilepsy Association of Western and Central Pennsylvania, Chairman Emeritus

Thought Leadership Topics:

Creating community-based networks of care

  • Developing a continuum of provider partnerships, clinical joint ventures, and integrations that bring primary and specialty care closer to where people work and live. This includes Highmark’s ongoing investments in Allegheny Health Network and partnerships with Penn State Health, Geisinger and Lehigh Valley.

Forging innovative payer-provider partnerships

  • Collaborating with providers to align financial incentives to improve patient outcomes and satisfaction. This includes Highmark’s signature True Performance program, which rewards primary care physicians for delivering high-value care. More than 2,000 primary care practices, covering nearly 2 million lives, participate across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware. Highmark's claims data shows that the program has helped to avoid over $2 billion in total health care costs since its start in 2017.

Improving health care affordability

  • Combatting the rising cost of prescription drugs through value-based agreements that hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for clinical and cost effectiveness.
  • Ensuring members and patients receive evidence-based, high-quality care in the most cost-effective and convenient care setting.

Creating a remarkable health experience

  • Investing in technology, care navigation tools and other resources that make it easier for our members and patients to manage their health and access the right care at the right time.

Helping veterans reach their full potential

  • Applying veterans' unique skills and experience to employment opportunities at Highmark and in all of the communities we serve.



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Aaron Billger

Highmark Health


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Leilyn Perri

Highmark Health


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