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Published on February 17, 2014

Dean Health Plan President and CEO Lon Sprecher to Retire

Dean Health Plan’s President and CEO Lon Sprecher announced today he will be retiring May 1, after eight years leading the organization.

Sprecher joined Dean in 2006 following a career which included varied roles such as City of Madison budget director, Wisconsin State Budget Director, and C-suite insurance careers with CUNA Mutual Group, Wisconsin Physicians Service, MGIC, and Central Life/Humana.  

During Sprecher’s eight years as President and then President and CEO of Dean Health Plan, the organization has experienced much growth and change, most recently in its merger with SSM Health Care in 2013. Other successes during Lon’s tenure include:

  • Growing from 246,000 members to more than 410,000
  • Becoming the largest HMO in the state and the second largest health insurer by membership
  • Receiving JD Powers top member satisfaction awards for four of the past five years
  • Achieving the top rated NCQA quality ranking for 14 years in a row
  • Scoring as a top-rated Medicare 5-Star program for the past three years
  • Successfully engaging in the Exchange (Federally Facilitated Marketplace-FFM)
  • Quadrupling Navitus, a pharmacy benefits company, to nearly three million members
  • Becoming as a system, a nationally recognized leader in the transition from a volume provider to a value provider after its merger with SSM Health Care
  • Launching a joint venture with Prevea Health and HSHS Hospitals in the Green Bay market—Dean has almost 20,000 members after the first year of operation 

“I have greatly enjoyed working with Lon and would like to personally thank him for his dedication and leadership,” said Gaurov Dayal, MD, President – Health Care Delivery, Finance & Integration with SSM Health Care. “Lon has worked tirelessly to help us achieve our shared vision of a fully integrated health care delivery system that provides high-value care and exceptional clinical outcomes for our patients. His contributions are immeasurable and he will be missed by all who have had the pleasure of working with him.”

In addition to Sprecher’s work at Dean Health Plan, he has also been active in civic and professional organizations throughout his 39 year career.  Over those years, he has served as: adjunct UW-Madison professor, Governor’s Business Council chair, tax and budget advisor to five past Wisconsin governors, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce Board member, executive committee member and Board Chair spanning 22 years, Overture Center Board member, Transitional Housing board member, Wisconsin Health Information Organization board member, Wisconsin Association of Health Plans board member, National Association of Community Health Plans board member, National Association of State Budget Directors board member, speaker at numerous national health industry and government conferences, and an advisory board member for IBM and Hewlett Packard in their health industry business segments.

Looking ahead for SSM and Dean, Sprecher says the future is bright, “SSM has the potential to become a national leader in value based care delivery. I am excited that Dean Health Plan will play a pivotal role in the transformation of SSM and am confident that we are on the path to becoming one of the leading integrated delivery systems in the country”.

As for Sprecher, his future plans include traveling with wife Sue, health industry consulting, woodworking and assisting wherever possible in making the Madison area and Wisconsin a better place to live and work.  

“I love Wisconsin - other than February and March - and will be looking for opportunities to work with governments and the University to improve our economy and environment,” he says.

A national search for Sprecher’s successor will begin immediately.


For More Information

For more information or to arrange an interview with one of our Dean providers or staff, contact please contact External Communications Manager Kim Sveum at (608) 294-6080 or email


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