Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Names Two Vice Presidents in Government Programs Business

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Cynthia MacDonald named vice president, CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Northern Plains Alliance and COO of ClearStone; Stacia Cohen named vice president of Medicare Star Center of Excellence

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) today announced that Cynthia MacDonald has been named vice president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Northern Plains Alliance, which is comprised of seven states in the upper Midwest, providing Medicare Part D services. MacDonald is also the chief operating officer for ClearStone Solutions, which provides consulting, administrative and transactional services to Blue plans and other organizations participating in managed Medicare or Medicaid programs. Blue Cross also announces the promotion of Stacia Cohen as the vice president of Medicare Star Center of Excellence, a newly created role.

In her new role, Cynthia MacDonald sets Clearstone’s strategic direction, working with the board and the health plans of the Northern Plains Alliance, and managing the strategy for Medicare Blue Rx. She will also work cross functionally and collaboratively with Blue Cross leaders in legal, finance and actuarial.

“Cynthia brings an extraordinary perspective as a senior leader in government programs” said Patricia Riley, senior vice president and chief government officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. “Cynthia’s expertise in Medicare and Medicaid at the local, regional and national levels is a key asset for Blue Cross. I am delighted to be welcoming her back to Blue Cross and to Minnesota.”

MacDonald brings more than two decades of Medicare, Medicaid and government programs leadership and expertise to Blue Cross. Most recently, MacDonald was at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services where she served in an executive role as the deputy center and operations director at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, the Agency’s primary implementation and oversight arm for the Affordable Care Act. She has held leadership positions as CEO and COO of Metropolitan Health Plan and vice president of Enterprise Medicaid at Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) which services the Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans of Illinois, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Montana and their subsidiaries. Prior to that MacDonald was director of government programs at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota for nearly a decade.

MacDonald has a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law.

As the vice president of Medicare Star Center of Excellence, Stacia Cohen will develop and integrate best-in-class capabilities across Medicare provider engagement, member engagement, health improvement programs, administrative excellence and data analytics. The Medicare Star Center of Excellence will deliver optimal health outcomes for Medicare members by managing chronic health conditions and ensuring enrollees receive the highest quality care from providers within the Blue Cross network.

Most recently Cohen was the director of program management in the government programs division, where she had responsibilities Medicare and Medicaid portfolio management. She has also held leadership roles at FirstSolutions, FirstPlan of Minnesota and Franciscan Skemp Health Care.            

“Stacia is uniquely qualified to optimize Blue Cross Medicare members’ experience,” Riley said. “Stacia has been a tremendous leader within the Government Programs division since joining Blue Cross four years ago.”

Cohen is a registered nurse. She holds a bachelor’s degree and MBA from the College of St. Scholastica.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota’s first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today as a health company: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. Blue Cross is a not-for-profit, taxable organization. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago.


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Jean Miller
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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
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