John M. Word III, CLU, RHU, REBC, is renowned for transforming the California insurance broker's role in the small group health benefits marketplace through his pioneering technological and marketing advances since 1972.Word's belief that benefits administration and underwriting need to be simplified and streamlined for all consumers underscores his continued effort today to find the next solution, the next innovation and the next market niche for the companies' expertise. Together with Edward J. "Rusty" Brown, Jr., Word founded the Word & Brown General Agency to market and distribute health plans through California's huge brokerage community; by 1986, the company was recognized as the largest independent small group health distributor in the nation. Sensing that employers needed assistance and qualified service with Federal COBRA laws, the company launched the nation's first COBRA administration operation.In 1996, Word & Brown launched CaliforniaChoice, a groundbreaking enterprise that enables employees in small groups to select from several health plans and benefit levels within one program. By empowering consumers with true choice for their healthcare, Word created a platform that encourages health plans to compete on quality and value. A highly sought-after speaker and collaborator, Word has written numerous articles, conducted classes and delivered keynote addresses to vast audiences. Word's professional credentials include Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) and Registered Employee Benefits Consultant (REBC) designations. He has served as President of the California Association of Health Underwriters (CAHU), President of the Orange County Association of Health Underwriters (OCAHU), and Chairman of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) Leading Producers Roundtable program. Word is a graduate of William Jewel College in Liberty, Missouri.
Edward J. "Rusty" Brown, Jr. is highly respected throughout the healthcare insurance industry for establishing and delivering standards of performance and service designed to exceed all customers' expectations, and for enhancing the California health insurance brokers' ability to serve their client's needs and best interests. Brown began his career in the early 1970s as an agent for the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company in upstate New York, where he was the youngest producer to be honored with entry in the century-old company's President's Honors Club.In 1980, Brown transferred to the west coast to assume the role of Sales Manager for Hancock's Newport Beach, California office. Here, he built strong and long lasting relationships by focusing on delivering a superior level of service, and his office quickly emerged as the company's top producing employee benefits agency in the nation.In 1982, Brown launched his own local General Agency, Innovative Cost Concepts, and subsequently met retail producer John Word. Together, Word and Brown refined the technology for a revolutionary new group health quoting engine and developed a plan that quickly attracted thousands of brokers and their clients to the services they could offer. Major insurers, too, were eager to be represented on this new rate and benefit comparison platform and, by 1986, Word & Brown Insurance Administrators, Inc. had become the largest independent small group health distributor in the nation. Today, Brown is a leading force in the development and success of all of The Word & Brown Companies.
Ron Goldstein is the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Orange, California-based CHOICE Administrators. He has been the leading architect in the creation and acceptance of group employee-choice health insurance exchanges for nearly 20 years. Goldstein currently is responsible for a series of health insurance programs including America’s longest-standing, state-approved private health insurance exchange, CaliforniaChoice.
With a background spanning more than 30 years in the health insurance industry, Goldstein began his career in 1981 with John Hancock Insurance, where he rapidly ascended to a leadership position focused on the medical disability field. His next position was with Dun & Bradstreet Plan Services, a national health insurance administrator. He spent seven years there, ultimately attaining the position of Regional Vice President responsible for group and individual health products for the Western United States.
In 1990, Goldstein joined the Word & Brown General Agency as Vice President of agency operations, and annually earned the coveted National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) Golden Eagle for Management award. In 1996, he was named Senior Vice President of Word & Brown's newly launched division, CaliforniaChoice. In this role, Goldstein conceptualized and designed the defined-contribution model for CaliforniaChoice, which allowed the company to emerge as the nation's leading private health insurance exchange for small and mid-size groups' healthcare benefits.
In 2003, Goldstein was named President of CHOICE Administrators, a Word & Brown Company. He added the CEO title in 2011. CHOICE Administrators is the nation’s leading developer and administrator of health insurance exchanges including CaliforniaChoice, CaliforniaChoice 51+, Kaiser Permanente Choice Solution, HSA California, Contractor's Choice® and Choice Builder®, the nation’s first ancillary benefits exchange.
To support the employee-choice mission of CHOICE Administrators, Goldstein has overseen the development of a number of innovative consumer decision-support tools - including cross-referenced provider and formulary guides, enrollment budget planning tools, and an online enrollment engine supporting benefit choices from multiple plans and carriers. Goldstein is a sought-after speaker on private health insurance exchanges, the Affordable Care Act, the changing face of America's health care system, and what small businesses need to know when considering health insurance benefits for employees. He has addressed annual conventions of the National Association of Health Underwriters, California Association of Dental Plans, and other groups. He has also authored employee benefits and insurance articles for business and consumer publications such as the Orange County Business Journal and Orange County Register.
Tamra MacPherson is Senior Vice President of Customer Service at CHOICE Administrators, where she oversees all aspects of customer service for the organization. Tamra is responsible for development and implementation of procedures and processes to ensure a positive customer experience and the delivery of the highest levels of support to CaliforniaChoice and Choice Builder customers, as well as carrier partners. She leads the organization’s customer service strategy and directs employee performance management, establishing goals to help staff meet elevated standards of service and achieve professional growth. Tamra began her professional career at CHOICE Administrators and has experience in an array of disciplines including Underwriting, Client Services, and Customer Service, being named to her current role in 2013. Tamra attended La Sierra University in Riverside, California.
Michael Payton is a seasoned employee benefits and business development executive with 20 years of experience working with business owners, executives, brokers, general agents, carriers, and consultants. As Vice President of Sales at CHOICE Administrators, Michael is head of sales and underwriting and is responsible for all products and distribution for the CaliforniaChoice and Choice Builder private exchanges.Michael works collaboratively across the organization to develop strategic business plans to increase revenue and persistency, enhance relationships with distributors and customers, and achieve sustained, profitable growth. Previously, he owned an employee benefits consulting firm for two years, served as Vice President of Sales in the small business division of UnitedHealthcare for six years, and was sales director at a third-party benefits administrator for five years. Michael joined CHOICE Administrators in 2012 as National Sales Director for Choice Builder. He became Senior Sales Director in 2015 and was promoted to his current role in 2016.