Azam elected new chair of N.J. Association of Health Plans

Mishael Azam, vice president, external affairs, for UnitedHealth Group, has been named the new chair of the New Jersey Association of Health Plans, the group announced Monday.

Azam was one of several new board members that were voted into office, NJAHP President Ward Sanders said.

Other officers include:

  • Vice chair: Stuart Dubin, WellCare;
  • Treasurer: Jill Squiers, AmeriHealth New Jersey;
  • Secretary: Maggie Moree, Aetna.

In addition, the board voted on the following chairs of key standing committees:

  • Legislative chair: John Fuller, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey;
  • Medicaid chair: Pat Gillespie, AmeriGroup.

Azam, who joined UHG in 2018, is responsible for coordinating the public policy and political engagement activities for businesses in UHG in New Jersey and Connecticut.

Sanders praised the selection.


The New Jersey Association of Health Plans is a nonprofit association created to serve its member health plans with a mission of fostering understanding in the value that health plans contribute to New Jersey’s health care system.

NJAHP’s members, which cover over 7 million New Jersey residents, include: Aetna, Amerigroup, AmeriHealth New Jersey, Brighton Health Plan Solutions, Cigna, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Oscar, UnitedHealthcare and WellCare.

“Mishael is almost always on New Jersey policy power lists, and for good reason,” he said. “Her strong legal and policy background make her an effective advocate and trusted voice.  NJAHP looks forward to her leadership as we continue to work our way as a state through the COVID pandemic.”

Azam said she is eager to get to work.

“The COVID pandemic has dramatically altered the health care landscape,” she said. “NJAHP has played a key role in working with policymakers and other stakeholders in addressing the challenges and opportunities resulting from this changed landscape. I look forward to working with my fellow NJAHP board members, staff and our partners in the state as New Jersey continues to be a national leader in health care.”

Sanders thanked outgoing Chair Natalie Bernardi of Cigna, who is leaving the NJAHP board due to a new position within Cigna.

“Natalie accomplished much in her one year as chair, leading our discussions on COVID and successfully strengthening the NJAHP staff,” he said.

Alison Birzon is replacing Bernardi as the Cigna representative on the board.