Dierdre “Dede” Kennedy-Simington, LPRT, CHRS
DedeKennedy-Simington is a 30-year veteran of the insurance industry and is known nationally for her expertise in the field of employee benefits, health insurance, and healthcare financing reform. She is President of BenAssist Health Insurance Services, the fully woman-owned business she founded. Dede is a Certified Healthcare Reform Specialist, member of the Leading Producers Round Table, and works with large and small, private sector health insurance plans, including fully and partially self-funded programs.
Dede’s expertise is in providing extensive analysis to assist clients in the design of employee benefits and HR strategies that bend the healthcare cost curve, strengthen employee engagement and retention, adding to and fortify operational strategies. Her firm also provides precise federal and state insurance compliance tools and innovative resources.
She has an exceptionally strong ability to explain complex recommendations, legislative, regulatory and industry concepts, trends and idiosyncrasies in simple and easy terms. This coupled with a passion for humanizing and supporting the end user of health insurance makes for a dynamic outsourcing of expertise in the field of employee benefits.
Dede has lobbied extensively on healthcare reform in Sacramento and Washington, DC, since 1998, and is a self-professed legislative junkie. She was honored to serve as President of LAAHU for two years during the implementation of the ACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), giving her an extraordinary in-the-trench perspective and experience with the ground-breaking legislative and regulatory changes affecting employers, individuals, Covered California, and all insurance markets.
Dede currently serves as a member of the CCIA (California Cannabis Industry Association) Insurance & HR Committee and is heavily involved with the nation’s pre-eminent insurance broker trade association. She is a Past President (and past Legislative Chair) of LAAHU (the Los Angeles Association of Health Underwriters), and is currently a member of the LAAHU Speakers Bureau, California and Los Angeles Legislative Committees, the California Association Agent Diversity / Covered California Outreach Task Force, and on the Governance Committee for the National Association of Health Underwriters.
Dede has worked extensively on and with government-run insurance programs, collaborating on a long-term consulting project for the Hawaii State Employee’s Retirement System, representing over 120,000 participants, and while with AmeriMed Health Plan she developed and managed a multi-million-dollar contract for the first eligibility and enrollment unit for the State of California “AIM - Access for Infants and Mothers” public insurance program. After AmeriMed’s merger with Foundation Health she moved to the hospital sector, where she negotiated with payors for in and out-patient psychiatric services. In addition to that, while with Ingleside Hospital she developed a behavioral health Independent Physician Association, among the first of its kind in California.
She has served as Vice President on an Independent Contractor basis with Polenzani Benefits and Genesis Financial, a Principal with Garner Consulting, Founder of Kennedy Insurance Services, Director of Contract Management for Ingleside Hospital, and V.P. and Director for a subsidiary of AmeriMed Health Plan - J.P. Kennedy & Co. - an administrator of self-funded employee benefit plans.
Dede is currently serving with Los Angeles Association of Health Underwriters (LAAHU) as the Legislative Chair. Outside of her duties with LAAHU, Dede is a frequent source for media outlets and has been interviewed by and quoted in the L.A. Times, Kaiser Health News, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, California HealthLine, Sacramento Bee, NPR, and multiple other TV and radio stations, including Spanish-language outlets – and recently Marijuana Ventures and California Weed Blog.
Dede was the 2010 Paladin Award recipient (Insurance Person of the Year) awarded by LAAHU, in 2015 she was awarded the California Association of Health Underwriters’ highest honor – Member of the Year, and in 2016 the National Association of Health Underwriters Distinguished Service Award, one of seven awarded nationally.
A graduate of Polytechnic School and the University of Oregon (Rhetoric & Communication), Dede lives with her husband and two teenagers in Altadena, California.
1000 E. Walnut Street, Suite 236 Pasadena, California 91106