Karen Lynch, Aetna president and health care maverick, moves up to No. 15 on Fortune’s ‘Most Powerful Women in Business’ list

Sep 24 2018

Aetna President Karen Lynch is building a simpler, more responsive and affordable health care experience for consumers by leading Aetna through its pending combination with CVS Health. Her role as a top health care leader has propelled her six spots to No. 15 on Fortune’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” list in 2018.

Lynch—whose personal experiences with mental health and inefficiencies in the U.S. health care system continue to drive her resolve to disrupt the industry’s status quo—leads 51,000 employees and oversees more than $60 billion in revenue. After becoming Aetna’s first female president in 2015, Lynch has helped the company deliver access to member-centric “well care,” empowering consumers with access to community-based, holistic care that incorporates digital health tools and predictive analytics.

“Eighty-one percent of consumers are dissatisfied with their health care experience, and that’s because historically, our health care system has failed to treat the whole person,” Lynch said. “It’s time we change the way we treat people and their experience with health. We’re leading the way by becoming member-obsessed. This means serving as consumers’ trusted resource for holistic care instead of just sick care.”

Through her innovative thinking and strong leadership, Lynch has positioned Aetna as both a national and community-based consumer health company that will provide a more convenient pathway to care. She was instrumental in overseeing the 2018 launch of Aetna Community Care (ACC) in Florida. Through in-home assessments and community-based resources, ACC teams help members and their families tackle and overcome challenges impeding their health journeys.

“The walls around traditional health care organizations are closing in, and competition is coming from all sides—especially tech giants,” she says. “Technology companies don’t own innovation. Health care entities need to think like innovators, too, disrupting from the inside out.”

Lynch has led the company to realize $1.2 billion in net income, add almost 250,000 Medicare Advantage members and grow premiums in its Government business by nearly 11 percent in the first quarter of 2018. She’ll continue to push Aetna towards its goals of further expanding Medicare, Medicaid and Commercial membership, as well as reshaping how health care is delivered.

Lynch joined Aetna in 2012 as an executive vice president and head of specialty products, overseeing Aetna’s ancillary offerings like dental, vision, disability and life insurance. She also oversaw the integration of Aetna’s acquisition of Coventry Health Care.

She was named to Fortune’s 2016 and 2017 “50 Most Powerful Women” lists and was also recognized by Modern Healthcare in 2017 as one of the “Top 25 Women in Healthcare” for her role in transforming health care delivery nationwide.

Fortune started the Most Powerful Women list in 1998 to recognize women who play a large role within the business industry. The list is published annually.