In January 2015, Governor Bruce Rauner appointed Felicia Norwood to serve as the Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS).
At HFS, Norwood’s task is making sure our most vulnerable citizens have access to affordable, high-quality care. Her primary goal is to keep costs sustainable and ensure that current programs are effective and efficient. Felicia’s efforts to improve HFS will significantly help Illinoisans lead healthier, longer lives.
This is not a small or easy mission because HFS has numerous functions. It is the largest insurer in the State of Illinois and serves approximately 25 percent of the population. That’s over 3.3 million adults and children who qualify for Medicaid. Norwood oversees an operating budget of about $20 billion, which is about one third of the entire state budget.
Not only does the agency administer Medicaid, but also child support programs. Almost 500,000 emotionally- and financially-distraught families depend on its services.
Overseeing Medicaid and child support is a large responsibility and would be complicated under any circumstance. However, it is especially difficult with limited state resources to meet escalating healthcare costs.
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is committed to ensuring quality healthcare coverage at sustainable costs, empowering people to make sound decisions about their wellbeing, and maintaining the highest standards of program integrity on behalf of the citizens of Illinois.
Regardless of these considerable challenges, Norwood is up for the task and ready to lead. She has more than twenty years of experience in public policy, business operations, and healthcare delivery systems. Before her appointment, Norwood was a senior executive in the health insurance industry
In the private sector, Norwood was the President of the Mid-America region for Aetna, overseeing a budget of more than $6 billion. She began her career at Aetna as a Government Relations Counsel, where she analyzed and drafted legislation related to healthcare. Between 2006 and 2010, she was President and COO of ActiveHealth Management.
Serving as the Director of HFS is not Norwood’s first position serving the people of Illinois. As a Senior Policy Advisor on Health and Human Services for Governor Jim Edgar, she led health care reform initiatives and chaired the Human Services Cabinet. She also served as a Policy Adviser on Human Services to Governor Jim Thompson, where she developed and implemented policies on children and family services, public aid, and mental health.
Norwood earned her law degree from Yale Law School, a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin, and her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Valdosta State University in Georgia. She and her husband, Garry, currently live in Chicago.