ACHIEVEMENTS: As head of Nevada’s online outlet for plans mandated by the Affordable Care Act, surviving 2013 may turn out to be Hager’s biggest accomplishment, given public outrage over Obamacare’s online launch in October and the public’s tendency to confuse state health exchanges with the botched federal site. Fortunately for Hager, a five-year stint as the CFO of Nevada’s Public Employees’ Benefits Program familiarized him with attacks—both political and practical—against public health programs. And nine years in the Navy, along with an MBA from Texas A&M, gave him the mettle to keep methodically attacking problems as they arise.
A BIG FIRST QUARTER: “Our big push, over the next three months, is to get people enrolled so they’re covered and don’t face the federal IRS penalty,” Hager says. “Then, getting ready for open enrollment in October and making sure all the tools we’d like to have are implemented and working in the system.”
MOTIVATION: “Part of it is ego. I kind of like the spotlight, although I have to say it’s difficult when things aren’t going well. But I like that it is so challenging—the challenge of creating something new.”
STAT: 11,500 people had registered on the Silver State site as of January 11; the goal is 118,000.
SURVIVAL TACTIC: Hager deals with the stress of his job by making sure he’s home to spend time with his wife and kids by 5:30 every day—even if it means burning the midnight oil after they’ve gone to bed.