Health Benefit Exchange Authority

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DCHBX Senior Leadership Team

Mila Kofman, Executive Director  – Ms. Kofman is the Executive Director of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority. A nationally recognized expert on private health insurance markets, Kofman was the former Superintendent of Insurance in Maine from 2008 to 2011 where she regulated a multi-billion dollar insurance industry and headed an agency of more than 70 employees.  Appointed by the former Governor of Maine, John Baldacci, Kofman, worked with states and stakeholders to implement health insurance reforms. Her effective leadership in developing alliances with business groups, the insurance industry, consumer and patient advocates, physicians, trial lawyers and state agencies helped to improve and strengthen Maine’s insurance market for both consumers and businesses.   

In addition to serving on the Governor’s Steering committee on health reform implementation, Kofman served in several other key leadership positions, including Secretary –Treasurer of the Northeastern Zone of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), chair of the Health Insurance Regulatory Framework Task Force (2011) and co-chair of the Consumer Information working group of NAIC.   

Kofman’s public service includes working at the US Department of Labor (1997-2001), where she implemented health care reform.  As special assistant to the Senior Health Care Advisor to the President at the Domestic Policy Council for the White House, Kofman assisted with legislative and regulatory health care reform initiatives including the Patient’s Bill of Rights, long-term care insurance, nursing home reform, and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) reform. 

Having served in the academic arena, Kofman was an Associate Research Professor and Project Director at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute from 2001 to 2008. She rejoined the faculty as a Research Professor and Project Director in July 2011 following her tenure as Superintendent of Insurance in Maine. In that capacity, she advised states on the Affordable Care Act, reform options, implementation, and establishment of insurance exchanges.   

A published author, Kofman’s work includes a report on health insurance scams and articles on state and federal health insurance reforms in peer reviewed journals. She has also served as an expert witness in civil and criminal cases involving health insurance scams and unauthorized insurance, and has testified before the US Senate, US House of Representatives, and state legislatures. 

Ms. Kofman holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland (summa cum laude). She, her husband and two adopted dogs currently reside in Maryland. Mila Kofman will relocate to the District in the coming months.

Purvee Parekh Kempf, General Counsel and Chief Policy Advisor – From 2003 to 2013, Ms. Kempf served as senior counsel for health policy in the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.  Her primary responsibilities were protecting and improving federal regulation of private health insurance, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, health information technology, and privacy through legislation and oversight for Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and previously Congressman John Dingell (D-MI).  In that role she helped negotiate and draft the health reform provisions in the Affordable Care Act including the statutory authority and responsibilities for health benefit exchanges.

Ms. Kempf also negotiated and ushered through the House of Representatives groundbreaking health information technology and privacy legislation, as well as the expansion and reauthorization of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  Prior to her work on Capitol Hill, Ms. Kempf was an associate in the health practice group at Hogan & Hartson, LLP, currently Hogan Lovells, and a healthcare consultant at Anderson Consulting, currently Accenture.  She received an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.  See lives in the District with her husband and three young children.

Debbie Curtis, Senior Deputy Director for Policy and Exchange Programs – Ms. Curtis has more than 23 years of experience working on Capitol Hill, where she was one of the leading experts on health insurance, Medicare, and mental health parity.  Most recently, she served on the Democratic Professional Staff for the Committee on Ways and Means in the US House of Representatives.  For the previous 15 years, she served in a joint position as the Chief of Staff for Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), and as a professional staff member on the Ways and Means Democratic Staff, where she played a key role in developing the Affordable Care Act.  Prior to her work for Rep. Stark, Ms. Curtis served as health legislative assistant for (then Representative) now Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rep. Jim Moody (D-WI), both then Ways and Means Health Subcommittee members. 

Ms. Curtis was the Congressional Affairs Director for Citizen Action, a nationwide grassroots consumer advocacy organization, where she lobbied for national health care reform during the Clinton Administration.  She’s also worked on the staffs of now Senator (then Representative) Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA).  Ms. Curtis graduated from Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1988. She is a longtime resident of the District and lives on Capitol Hill with her husband and daughter.

Linda Wharton Boyd, Ph.D., Director of Communications, External Affairs and Strategic Partnerships – Dr. Wharton Boyd joined the Exchange’s senior management team from the DC Department of Health (DOH), where she had been the Senior Advisor, Communications and External Affairs, and helped the agency establish a social media presence. Prior to this appointment, she was detailed to the Exchange to assist in communications and media relations. She earlier served as Director of Communications in the DC Executive Office of the Mayor for Mayor Vincent C. Gray, and was a member of the Mayor’s Executive Cabinet and the official spokesperson for the Mayor and the Government of the District of Columbia.

Linda Wharton Boyd has spent much of her professional career working to improve the lives of District residents. She is a communications professional with a proven record of success in communications, marketing, public affairs, media relations, organizational development, strategic planning, and problem solving with the ability to effectively design, implement and manage internal and external communications and marketing programs, projects, information campaigns, promotions, as well as achieve organizational goals beyond expectations. In addition to her work at the Department of Health and the Executive Office of the Mayor, Wharton Boyd has also served as Chief of Staff/Chief Communications Officer for Councilmember Michael A. Brown; Chief Communications Officer for the DC Public Schools; Director of the Office of Communications and Public Affairs for the DC Department of Human Services/Office of the Deputy Mayor For Children, Youth, Elders And Families; Director of the DC Office of Cable Television and Telecommunications and Director of Communications / Press Secretary for DC  Mayor Marion Barry.

With a wealth of experiences to draw upon in strategic communications, public relations, media, telecommunications and external affairs in both the public and private sectors, Wharton Boyd is responsible for building the Health Benefit Exchange’s strategic communications and partnership engagement  across the city with various community-based organizations, to include nonprofits, faith based institutions, and diverse populations. She will also serve as the liaison to the Council of the District of Columbia, District government agencies, Federal agencies and the White House.

She holds a Ph.D. in Communications and Master’s in Speech Communications from the University of Pittsburgh as well as professional Certified Municipal Manager designation from George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration.

Jason Sparks Chief Information Officer – Mr. Sparks has over 20 years of experience in the information technology space, spanning the private, non-profit, and government sectors. As the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority’s Chief Information Officer, Mr. Sparks leads the Agency’s delivery of the DC Health Link online marketplace for DC residents, small businesses, and their employees. His responsibilities range from day-to-day technology operations to long-term technology strategy for DC Health Link. Additionally, Mr. Sparks leads the team responsible for providing technology support to Agency staff and volunteers.

Most recently, Mr. Sparks was the Chief Operating Officer for Enroll America, where he served for over 4 years at the grassroots national non-profit focused on education and outreach efforts in support of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Prior to his work with Enroll America, Mr. Sparks served as an information technology professional on a series of political campaigns across the country.

Mr. Sparks’ private sector experience includes 10 years at a Colorado-based entertainment corporation, where he served, among other roles, as Director of Finance, leading the HR, accounting, finance, and information technology teams in support of the company’s mission. Mr. Sparks is a DC native, born at George Washington University Hospital. Mr. Sparks attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he studied business administration. He lives in the Navy Yard neighborhood with his wife Jess and their cat, Alexandra.

Annie White, Contracting Officer

Marjorie Edmonds, Chief Financial Officer at the DC Health Benefit Exchange. She has held several leadership roles in finance in the private and public sector. She held the Budget Officer position at the DC Metropolitan Police Department and DC Child and Family Services, and Agency Fiscal Officer at the DC Department of Parks and Recreation. At each of these agencies Ms. Edmonds was responsible for managing the operating and, when applicable, capital budgets. She held the Financial Manager position at DC Water and Sewer (now DC Water). Here she was on the team for the initial $300M+ bond issuance for the $1.3B capital improvement program when the agency became independent.

In the private sector Ms. Edmonds has held roles as Vice President of Finance, Corporate Controller, Financial Analyst, Cash Manager and Auditor. During her career she has worked at Educate, Inc., ISR Solutions, Citibank and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.

Ms. Edmonds has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Loyola of Baltimore. She is also a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in the state of Maryland.

Ikeita Cantú Hinojosa, Senior Deputy Director – Ikeita Cantú Hinojosa leads the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority’s (HBX) grants management program. She previously served as HBX’s Senior Deputy for Operations/Chief Operating Officer (COO), Privacy & Data Security Officer, HBX’s Associate General Counsel & Policy Advisor, and HBX’s Interim Call Center Operations Manager for the DC Health Link Contact Center. In addition, she oversaw the DC Health Link Assister Program, the DC Health Link Navigator Program, and the DC Health Link Certified Application Counselor Program. Before HBX, Ms. Cantú Hinojosa was the Director of the Partner Relations Group for the Office of Public Engagement in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). She also handled Culturally & Linguistically Appropriate Services in the Office of Consumer Support within the HHS Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO).

Before HHS, Ms. Cantú Hinojosa served as Assistant Director of Government Relations for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Her legal and policy experience includes law firm contracting, the National Association of Social Workers, the National Women’s Law Center, Legal Momentum, and the law firm of Arnold & Porter in the District, as well as the City of Lubbock and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in her home state of Texas. Ms. Cantú Hinojosa is a graduate of both Texas Tech University and the University of Michigan. She is a licensed professional social worker and has served as a Life Skills Instructor to inmates in the Fairfax County, Virginia, Alternative Incarceration Branch since 2011. She is licensed to practice law in both the District of Columbia and Maryland. She and her dog Cakes are a registered volunteer therapy animal team through the Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program. Her current board service is as a gubernatorial appointee to the Virginia Council on Women where she serves on the Women’s Health Initiative Subcommittee.

Holly Whelan, Chief Operating Officer – Holly joined the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority in 2013, and is currently the agency’s Chief Operating Officer. Prior to her current role, Holly spent almost 5 years as the agency’s Deputy Director for Marketplace Innovation, Policy and Operations. During that time she worked to oversee the day-to-day operations of DC Health Link, the online health insurance marketplace for consumers and small businesses in the District of Columbia.

Before her time at HBX, Holly worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the development and implementation of the Federally-facilitated Exchange Marketplace. During her time at CMS, Holly served as the Director of both the Navigator and the Consumer Assistance grant programs, which in total provided more than $100 million in grant funds to states and organizations to help consumers enroll into health coverage, appeal coverage denials, etc.

Prior to her federal service, Holly worked for The Endocrine Society as the Associate Director of Health Policy and for the American Diabetes Association as the Manager of Public Policy, where she conducted research on problems consumers face accessing affordable and adequate health coverage. Holly has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Relations and Policy and is a proud graduate of Michigan State University. She has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from The George Washington University.

Angela Franco-Gulick is a Senior Advisor at the DC Health Benefit exchange Authority responsible for collaboration with the business and Hispanic communities as well as with the local and Federal governments.

Prior to joining DCHBX, Angela was the President and CEO of the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GWHCC), a position she held since 2009. Under her leadership, the organization was revitalized and presented dramatic growth from 60 to 670 members and a 500% increase in operating revenue. It was ranked by the Washington Business Journal (WBJ) as the Top Seven Chambers of Commerce in the DC Metro Region in 2016. In  2013 and 2015, the Chamber received the WBJ’s award as the best midsized and large Chamber in the nation respectively.

Angela has promoted business-to-business networking and synergistic relationship building, built strong relationships with the local government and the international community and appeared before numerous government agencies as an advocate for the interests of regional Hispanic and minority businesses. 

A well respected community advocate, Angela serves on numerous boards and commissions including the Board of Directors of United Way National Capital Region and the Pan American Development Foundation. She was appointed by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to serve on the DC Workforce Investment Council.  

Angela’s earlier career in the US includes being a member of the Senior Leadership Team for the Branch Banking and Trust Company (BB&T), and Assistant to the President and CEO of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation. 

Before relocating to the US from Bogotá, Colombia, Angel Franco was Manager for Special Businesses for the Santander Pension Fund, Manager of Institutional Relations for a division of Banco Popular del Ecuador, and Assistant to the VP of Marketing for the American International Group (AIG).

Angela Franco holds a Master of Science degree in Finance and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from EAFIT and CESA Universities respectively. While with BB&T, she was chosen to attend the Branch Banking and Trust University, an 18-month educational program offered only to those recognized as top performers with high potential. A graduate of Leadership Montgomery and Leadership Greater Washington, Angela is also a Certified Life Coach.

Eliza Navarro Bangit - Director of Marketplace Innovation, Policy, and Operations – Eliza oversees day-to-day operations of DC Health Link, the District’s on-line individual and small group marketplace. She also advises the HBX Executive Director on health policy and strategic matters. Prior to joining the HBX, Eliza was the Director of the Office of Policy Analysis and Development at the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she focused on the development of measures of quality for home- and community-based services and developed technical assistance support to States that participated in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Duals Demonstration Financial Alignment Initiative. Prior to joining ACL, Eliza served as the Deputy Director of the Consumer Support Group in the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) at CMS where she led the development of the Consumer Assistance Program, a provision in the Affordable Care Act that provided millions of grant funding to states to strengthen their health insurance ombudsman and information counseling programs. Eliza also led the development of the Navigator Program to assist consumers understand the options available to them in the Marketplace. Eliza served as a Senior Research Associate for 10 years at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute prior to joining the federal government, where she concentrated on federal and state laws governing the private insurance market, with a focus on access, affordability, and adequacy of coverage, and has authored articles in legal and health policy journals. Eliza received her Juris Doctor from the University of the District of Columbia and is a member of the Maryland Bar Association. She earned her MA in Aging Studies with an emphasis on Health Care Administration from Notre Dame of Maryland University.

Jennifer Beeson, Director of Strategic Operations