32 Execs from 6 Health Insurers Out Earn All US Govt. Leaders Again in 2008

In what was a bad year for the health insurance industry and a disastrous one for the US economy the 32 top executives of Aetna, Cigna, Wellpoint, United Healthcare, Humana and Coventry earned $144,000,000 combined.

This total fell dramatically from 2007 when these same companies had  total executive comp. of $278,000,000, though there were numerous severance packages in that figure.

By comparison the total salaries of the President, Vice President, 15 Cabinet Secretaries, 9 Supreme Court Justices and 535 members of the US House and Senate were just under $100M last year.

The Boards of these 6 profit healthplans earned another $21,400,000 for attending a few board meetings annually.

In the past 5 years the executives of these 6 companies and their Board members have been paid over $925,000,000 plus the approximately $450,000,000 million in stock options that former United Healthcare CEO William McGuire was allowed to keep of the $1,800,000,000 that he had been awarded in his questionable options dating scandal.

Right, wrong or indifferent, the for profit healthcare plans have a major PR issue that this compensation issue is just part of.

Earlier this week Forrester Research relased the results of its industry customer satisfaction statistics and for the seconmd straight year the health insurers came in dead last, actually losing ground from 2007.

In April J.D. Powers released their healthplan rankings by region and the results for Aetna, Cigna, Wellpoint, and especially United Healthcare, were downright embarassing in comparison to the regional players and BCBS plans that won in every region. Only Humana scored reasonably well in those surveys.

So an industry with abysmal customer satisfaction results continues to raise prices at will and compensate its leadership based on what criteria? This dog doesn’t hunt in any other part of our lives and may not in the future as healthcare reform progresses.

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One Comment on “32 Execs from 6 Health Insurers Out Earn All US Govt. Leaders Again in 2008”


  1. Excellent post. We’ve blogged quite a bit about executive compensation (and the role of executive compensation consultants) so I was very interested in the information you present in your posting. One recent post we made after attending Warren Buffet’s annual shareholders meeting is relevant to your post: http://hrmarketer.blogspot.com/2009/05/investing-executive-pay-leadership.html


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