Full Name
Mary Watanabe
Job Title
Organization Name
California Department of Managed Health Care
Speaker Bio
Mary Watanabe (she/her) is the Director of the California Department of Managed Health Care, the state entity that oversees health plans that provide health care services to more than 26 million Californians. As Director, Mary is responsible for protecting consumers’ health care rights and ensuring a stable health care delivery system in accordance with federal and state rules. Mary joined the department in 2015 as the Deputy Director for Health Policy and Stakeholder Relations, where she was responsible for fostering proactive and effective relations between the DMHC and its stakeholders, while serving as primary advisor to the Director on critical issues and providing strategic planning and policy direction on emerging issues and industry trends.

Prior to joining the DMHC, Mary served as Deputy Director for the Sales Division at Covered California, where she oversaw the implementation of the Navigator Grant Program, the Outreach and Education Grant Program and the engagement of community partners to educate consumers and small business owners about the health care options available through Covered California.

Prior to joining Covered California, Mary served for 12 years with the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board in the areas of contract development and monitoring, eligibility and enrollment, and benefits administration of several public health care programs, including the Healthy Families Program.  She also participated in the implementation of the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, a federally funded high-risk pool that offered health coverage to medically uninsurable Californians.

Mary holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University, Sacramento.
Mary Watanabe