Posted tagged ‘politics’

What Near Depression? Healthplan Executive Comp. Jumps 26% In 2009

May 3, 2010

With the nation in a deep recession, in the midst of a financial crisis, with 2 million+ homes in foreclosure and unemployment at nearly 10% the compensation of the top executives and directors at the nation’s 7 largest publicly traded healthplans – Aetna, Cigna, Humana, Wellpoint, United Healthcare, Coventry and HealthNet – increased 26% over 2008 – rising from $180 M to $225 M.

The 7 combined for $12.4 Billion in profits and their stocks gained an impressive $19.7 Billion in market value even as the supposed evil specter of healthcare reform loomed.

Click the Piggy Bank for the Summary Chart.

Click Here to See 2009 Details by Company

Once again the total compensation of these executives ($224.7 M) add up to nearly  2 1/2 times the total salaries paid all of the 561 leaders of the 3 branches of the United States government ($100.3 M).

If the executive teams from the “non profit” Blues plans were included the total jumps nearly another $100 Million to over $325 Million led by Healthcare Service Corp (BCBSIL, BCBSTX et al).

In fact the “golden parachute” packages for 6 Wellpoint executives ($98.3 M) nearly equalled the total of the 561 government leaders salary alone.

While Aetna, Cigna and HealthNet CEO’s saw a decrease year over year in their total compensation Ron Williams of Aetna was still the highest paid of the group at $18M.

The largest percentage increases for CEO’s  were:

  • Coventry – Alan Wise -$17.4 M up from $9 M
  • United -Stephen Helmsley – $8.9M up from $3.2 M
  • Wellpoint – Angela Braly – $13.1 M from $9.8 M
  • Humana – Mike McCallister – $6.5 M from $4.8 M

Source – Reuters Finance / Company Proxy Statements

The Industry Radar has been publishing a summary of executive compensation for the last 3 years ever since the Dr. William McGuire options backdating scandal in 2007 and one area we looked at in more detail this year was the value of stock options held by healthplan executives.

You may recall Dr. McGuire in a CBS News interview famously stated that his $1.8 Billion in options did not impact the rates that were charged to their policyholders. He subsequently was forced to relinquish nearly $600 Million in options and United Healthcare paid over $900 Million to settle shareholder lawsuits.

Nearly $1.5 Billion of options are held by only 26 executives led by United Healthcare’s CEO once again:

  • United Healthcare – Stephen Helmsley – $843 Million
  • Aetna – Ron Williams – $227.3 Million
  • United Healthcare – David Wichmann – $81.6 Million
  • Humana – Mike McCallister – $71.8 Million
  • HealthNet – Jay Gellert – $62.3 Million
  • Coventry – Allen Wise – $26.4 Million

Source – Reuters Finance / Company Proxy Statements

Just the options held by these 6 executives could pay the salaries of the entire leadership of our government until 2022.

Clearly the job of executives in any public company is to increase shareholder value and that is what they are paid to do.

To see these types of rewards in the worst economic year in half a century coupled with the options listed above raises questions as to our healthcare system and its relationship to what is going on in society.

I would hope in the future that if companies are going to pay these types of compensation that the growth of their companies, and how they get rewarded will be based on running tight operational businesses that measurably increase the health and well being of their customer base – which thanks to PPACA will be 32 million more people – the largest legislative gift ever to any industry in the world.


Brokers Procrastinating? HITECH Regs Will End That Soon

April 28, 2010

If like most brokers you still have not gotten compliant with HIPAA HITECH at least some of your major excuses will be ending soon. HHS will issue final regs on a number of HITECH items including BA penalties an enforcement next Month.

If you are still hoping that somehow brokers and benefits consultants and the work they do for clients will be magically exempted you can end that wishful thinking now. The regs will not change the law only get more specific on it and exempting any group that handles confidential employee data is simply not going to happen, especially now that healthcare reform has passed and it simplification provisions call for common data for plans by 2014.

In particular encryption of data is definitely not going to be changed. That is a given.

RadarMail 360 has options for all size organizations from solopreneurs to the largest firms.

For less than a buck a user per day we can have you up and running with the best encryption solution in the benefits and healthcare industry in less than 48 hours.

Why are you still procrastinating and leaving your firm open to willful neglect penalties and bad press for your firm?

Contact us today and solve your problem easily and cost effectively.

PPACA in 5 Minutes – Overview Video

April 22, 2010

Click the image for a great concise 5 minute overview of the law and its impact in 2010/2o11 from my old UNUM collleague David Cleary.

Its PPACA…Not Alpaca

April 21, 2010

We thought we might try and make the confusing topic of healthcare reform – formally known as  “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” – or PPACA for short – a little more fun.

Introducing as you one resource for the best content on the web for researching and understanding this important new legislation.

In fact the webmaster for the website is PPACA the Alpaca, a gentle and patient creature, as all alpacas are, whose job it is to patiently find the best resources and ultimately answer your questions without any political or emotional agenda.

We will be creating a master FAQ database culled from sources we find online with links to them for you as well.

Visit frequently as content is updated daily.

PPACA welcomes content suggestions, questions and helpful ideas so please email him at

We hope you find this site useful in navigating the brave new world of healthcare.

Healthcare Reform Radar Launched as One Stop for Help

April 20, 2010

Whether you like it or not – and there is plenty not to like (as well as to like) and yet to be defined – the health reform bill – PPACA –  is the law of the land. Yes it is big and confusing, but not as much as one might think when experts, like the links we provide put their minds to the task.

I know many of you, especially brokers have been busy answering questions for clients and putting on education sessions so the Industry Radar decided to create a special section to help.

We have looked at over 200 websites from brokers, carriers, media, consultants and more to put together our overview and links for you.

We have summarized the law by five major areas for you in a timeline and the links at the top of each page were the best resources we found – the ones in bold being the most useful. There are web links, PDFs, on demand webinars, slide decks and more for you to access for your research.

Where did we find the least resources? Amazingly – or maybe not so –  the healthplans sites were worthless in terms of the information on their sites. The five links you see are all that we could find for 100 or so national, BCBS and regional plans we follow.  The industry media was even less useful, just as they had been with HIPAA HITECH. Literally nothing to use on any site but Business Insurance. The mainstream media had numerous quality sources led by CNN and CBS.

Most helpful,  as usual, were brokers of many sizes. Gallagher, Willlis, Buck, Segal/Sibson, Trion, Precept were among the better sites as well as Benico from Huntley, Il. John Garven, a mid sized broker and long time student of the industry has a great resource center and a great website in general.

The vast majority of the 100 websites we looked at of the Top 100 BI list of brokers,  actually under a third, had any specific information readily visible and many simply had links to third party sources which has value at least.

If you would like us to include your site and any of its resources here or have any other good links email me and we will look at them.

PS – To their credit at least today UHC and Wellpoint announced that they will extend coverage to those <26 immediately, even though hteh law for that doesn’t go into effect until 9/23/2010. Bravo to them for showing leadership on a provision that can cover as many as 6 million of our children at little real cost acting in the spirit of reform. A very nice gesture.

HIPAA HITECH Solutions…Not Theory Webinar – 4/27

April 16, 2010

It has been 2 months since the HITECH Law went into affect and most organizations are still not compliant.

There have been a lot of webinars describing the legal aspects associated with HIPAA HITECH compliance but none have focused specifically on real solutions to the 4 key areas that your business needs to focus on for HIPAA HITECH compliance:

• Assessment of your risks and vulnerabilities
• Development of policies and procedures
• Encrypting ePHI for client data protection
• Having a breach notification plan in case of a problem

Privacy expert Rebecca Herold will keynote the webinar. In her article in the February 2010 issue of Compliance Today magazine she stated:

“Covered entities (CE) are now accountable for more active validation of business associate (BA) security and privacy program compliance, beyond just having a BA contract in place. It is more important than ever for CEs to take proactive measures to ensure BAs establish and maintain effective and appropriate information security and privacy policies and other supporting actions.”

In addition to Rebecca experts in all 4 areas will share their proven tools to help you get compliant, stay compliant and protect your business.

Please register here and join us for real life solutions to HIPAA HITECH.

Do “Most” Support Repeal – or Adding Public Option?

April 15, 2010

There is a new poll out from  Indiana University’s CHPPR that is actually entitled: “Healthcare Reform Important Even to Those Who want Bill Repealed”

However the sound bite from it – “Most favor healthcare reform repeal” – is making the media breathless about how unpopular HRC is.

The problem with the poll is that when you look at the internals and some of the questions it appears that repeal is not the issue for the vast majority of people, but amending the bill to add a strong public option. This is an interesting review of the new poll.

Here is the most telling stat from the poll (emphasis mine):

“When asked how important they thought it was for Congress to work on “establishment of a public option that would give individuals a choice between government provided health insurance or private health insurance,” 67 percent of Americans rated this as an important topic to address. This finding is even more striking given the fact that 59 percent of those in favor of repealing the health care reform legislation rated the public option as important to pursue.  Another surprise is that 67 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of Independents also agreed that the public option was an important topic to be addressed by Congress.”

So the real headline could be – “Public Will Support Reform if Public Option Included” – or ‘More Work Needs to Be Done on Reform” which is consistent with polls before the bill passed that showed 66% support for a public option.

People seem to be inherently logical and smart enough to understand that competition and choice are important parts of getting costs down and quality up.

Seems like the American people are not interested in a political “Waterloo” but real actions that help them and our nation. 67% of R’s and 59%  of I’s want a strong public option. Why is that no big surprise?

What this tells me is that the American people are a lot smarter than our Congress – especially the united “Party of No” whose entire message seems to be at odds with what their own supporters want.