Health Insurance Execs Cash In, Jack Premiums

Those heading 5 biggest companies took home $200M
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2010 7:30 AM CDT
FILE - In this file photograph takne Oct. 27, 2010, the headquarters of Wellpoint is shown in downtown Indianapolis.   (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, file)
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(Newser) – As their companies slammed policyholders with double-digit rate increases, top executives at the nation's five largest insurance companies gave themselves hefty raises last year, pulling in a total of almost $200 million. Of the heads of Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealth Group, WellPoint, and Aetna, only one took a paycut—Aetna's CEO dropped from $24.4 million to a meager $18.2 million—according to a new analysis by health care activists.

"Most families are struggling to hang on. Employers are struggling to stay in business. And these guys were giving themselves huge raises," a head of the organization that prepared the report said. A spokeswoman for WellPoint, whose California subsidiary Anthem Blue Cross planned premium hikes up to 39%, told the Los Angeles Times that executive compensation reflected efforts to improve care and meet corporate goals. Which were likely met, notes the Times—most companies have seen profit margins soar 20% so far this year, with one reporting as much as a 51% spike.

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