For Immediate Release: January 11, 2024

New Washington Health Benefit Exchange chair appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee

Dr. Monica McLemore replaces outgoing chair Ron Sims OLYMPIA, Wash.

Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed Monica McLemore Ph.D., MPH, RN, as the new Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) Board Chair. McLemore replaces outgoing board chair Ron Sims who served the exchange from 2014 to 2023.

Dr. McLemore works at University of Washington, Department of Child, Family and Population Health Nursing where she is a professor, interim associate dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and interim director of the Center for Anti-Racism. She is also an adjunct professor at the UW School of Public Health and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. Dr. McLemore has also served on the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB).

“I thank Ron Sims for his consistent and stable leadership over the last decade. I am very much looking forward to working in the new role to advance health equity for all Washingtonians by focusing on those most burdened by poor health outcomes,” Dr. McLemore said.

“Dr. McLemore brings a wealth of clinical, academic and community expertise to the Exchange board. She shares a deep commitment to health equity and an understanding of how social determinants of health contribute to health outcomes,” Exchange CEO Ingrid Ulrey said. “Ron Sims has been an instrumental part of the Exchange’s growth, development and focus on equity for 10 years. Dr. McLemore will build upon his tremendous leadership and help guide us into the next chapter as we expand access to health coverage for all Washingtonians.”

Dr. McLemore currently serves as editor-in-chief of the Health Equity Journal and is a board member of Black Mamas Matter Alliance. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the College of New Jersey, a master’s in public health from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. in oncology genomics at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. McLemore’s expertise and reputation as an equity thought leader comes at a key time for the Exchange as they work to secure continuous coverage for people no longer eligible for Washington Apple Health and launch the historic new opportunity for all Washingtonians regardless of immigration status to shop and purchase Qualified Health Plans. We fully expect to also benefit from her deep expertise in reproductive health, rights, and justice and community co-developed health services.

Washington Health Benefit Exchange is governed by an 11-member board comprised of a chair and eight members appointed by the governor from nominees put forward by each of the legislative caucuses.

The Exchange Board meets every other month, or more often as needed. The meetings are open to the public and open to public comment. All meeting agendas, materials and minutes are available to the public through

Reminders: Enrollment is offered year-round to individuals and families through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid). Customers enrolled in Apple Health will receive a notice 60 days before the month they enrolled in or renewed their coverage last year.

About Washington Healthplanfinder

Washington Healthplanfinder is an online marketplace for individuals and families in Washington to compare and enroll in health insurance coverage and gain access to tax credits, reduced cost sharing and public programs such as Medicaid. Open enrollment for Washington Healthplanfinder is from Nov. 1, 2023, to Jan. 15, 2024. Enrollment reports and data are available from Washington Health Benefit Exchange.


About Washington Apple Health

In Washington, Medicaid is called Washington Apple Health. Free or low-cost coverage is available year-round for those who qualify. Since the Affordable Care Act launched in October 2013, more people have access to preventive care, like cancer screenings, treatment for diabetes and high blood pressure, and many other health care services they need to stay healthy. Apple Health clients enroll and renew online using Washington Healthplanfinder. Apple Health is administered by the Washington State Health Care Authority,

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