Karen Hanlon

Karen Hanlon

Karen Hanlon

Karen Hanlon is executive vice president and chief operating officer of Highmark Health, a $22 billion national, blended health organization that includes one of America’s largest Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers and a growing regional hospital and physician network. Based in Pittsburgh, Pa., Highmark Health’s 37,000 employees serve millions of customers nationwide through the nonprofit organization’s affiliated businesses including Highmark Inc., Allegheny Health Network, HM Insurance Group, United Concordia Dental, HM Health Solutions and Helion.

Ms. Hanlon is a key leader, strategist and visionary for Highmark Health, helping to guide the organization’s mission to create remarkable health experiences that free people to be their best.  She is responsible for overseeing the strategy and long-term operations of Highmark Health and Highmark Inc., as the organization focuses on bringing transformational care to its customers and growing beyond traditional health care models, products and services.  Ms. Hanlon also oversees the operations of Gateway Health, the Highmark Health-Penn State Health partnership and HM Health Solutions.

With more than 20 years of finance experience, Ms. Hanlon began her career in public accounting at KPMG Peat Marwick prior to joining Highmark Inc. in 1997.

During her tenure at Highmark, she held several positions within the finance division before becoming the chief financial officer and treasurer of Highmark Health in 2014, and the chief operating officer of Highmark Health in 2018, reporting directly to CEO David Holmberg.  As chief financial officer, Ms. Hanlon played a significant role in strengthening the overall financial performance of the enterprise, resulting in Highmark Health’s achievement of consecutive record net revenues in 2017 and 2018.

Ms. Hanlon also guided the financial turnaround of Allegheny Health Network, which was nearing bankruptcy when it was acquired by Highmark Health in 2013, with the health delivery system achieving sustained profitability beginning in 2017.  The health delivery system has expanded to include 14 hospitals in western Pennsylvania, as well as five multi-specialty medical malls.  Ms. Hanlon leveraged this financial turnaround to execute Allegheny Health Network’s $1 billion bond offering in 2018, its first ever public tax-exempt financing that secured a long term and stable capital structure, a critical step in enabling Highmark Health to deliver on its promise of building a blended payor/provider model that will deliver high-quality, low-cost health care to its members and customers.

In recognition of her achievements, Hanlon was named a 2018 CFO of the Year by The Pittsburgh Business Times and a 2019 recipient of The Grove City College Alumni Association Jack Kennedy Memorial Alumni Achievement Award, which honors alumni who have made significant contributions in their field.

Ms. Hanlon is a strong advocate of supplier diversity, serving as an executive sponsor for this important initiative at Highmark Health.  She believes in implementing best practices, innovation and community partnerships that encourage businesses to provide consistent opportunities for minority-owned and operated businesses in the supply chain.

Current Professional Affiliations Include:

  • Board of Directors and Chair of the Audit Committee, Penn State Health
  • Board of Directors and Chair of the Audit Committee, Gateway Health Plan
  • Chairman, Board of Directors, HM Health Solutions


Karen’s Session: 

Welcome Address