By Sam Bojarski
While growing up in a working-class family, Errol Pierre experienced some of the same health issues many young people deal with. But at times, finding treatment for asthma and orthotics for flat feet proved financially burdensome for his parents.
“They weren’t covered under the benefits, so I just walked around with flat feet in pain because we couldn’t afford orthotics. There were just so many things that as a child growing up with my parents’ benefits that I didn’t have access to,” said Pierre, a Haitian-American who lives in the Bronx.
As senior vice president for state programs at Healthfirst ‒ New York state’s largest nonprofit health insurer ‒ Pierre has overseen the implementation of health plans under the Affordable Care Act, designed to insure New Yorkers, including families similar to his own. A dedicated volunteer who has served New Yorkers and the larger Haitian community, Pierre was included on a recent New York Carib News list of Power 100 Caribbean Americans.
The New York Carib News editorial board developed the Power 100 list to celebrate the achievements of community members. Submissions are made on behalf of nominees, who must demonstrate personal achievement in a profession, community engagement and sound character. On July 1, Carib News held a virtual celebration for Power 100 awardees.
From setting up food pantries to providing information and resources about COVID-19, Pierre has worked with a lot of community organizations through Healthfirst, over the past four months. He said this community work likely earned him the nomination.
Pierre first started with Healthfirst in 2012, initially as assistant vice president of product management.
“My job was to lead the cross-functional implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which included all of the Obama-care plans as well. That’s probably my biggest accomplishment. We launched a product called Qualified Health Plans, which are the Obama-care plans that have the different metal levels. We launched a product called the Essential Plan,” Pierre said.
Before briefly leaving Healthfirst in early 2018 for Empire BlueCross BlueShield ‒ where he served as a chief operating officer ‒ Pierre also led an effort to roll out a plan for small business owners. He rejoined Healthfirst as senior vice president for state programs in 2019.
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