Health Insurance Company CEOs Total Compensation in 2008

Filed in Uncategorized by on May 20, 2009 90 Comments

A few months back we posted the Total Compensation for a number of Health Insurance Company CEOs for 2007. Those numbers, culled from the companies’ SEC filings (Schedule 14A) appears immediately below. Below that are the numbers for 2008, courtesy of through Jan Rodolpho, RN.

As you can see, the year has brought decreases for some CEOs (but not all). One wonders, discretion being the better part of valor, if the clamor for health care reform and the pursuit of a Public Plan, has counseled caution –for the time being– regarding executive compensation. If the timing for further compensation has merely been adjusted so as to backload payments until after the health care reform debate is settled. Either way, the numbers pretty much speak for themselves. Perhaps a slight bit of context is in order, however: it has struck me that Aetna’s Ronald Williams received $24,300,112 last year. That’s $467,309.85 per week. That’s a house. Maybe not a house that Mr. Williams would live in, but a house nonetheless. The man makes a house a week. And interestingly enough, if Mr. Williams were to eschew the purchase of a house on any given week and instead look to deposit the money in a bank– in order to remain FDIC insured (up to $250,000)– he would actually need to open more than one account–every week. Lest we lament the fate of the other CEOs on the list, in 2008 Ms. Braly had to get by on $189,311.76 per week, and Mr. Hemsley had to somehow manage on $62,327.73 per week (but perhaps he was able to save a little from last year when he made $253,164.02 per week).

Res Ipsa Loquitur.

Ins. Co. & CEO With 2007 Total CEO Compensation

  • Aetna Ronald A. Williams: $23,045,834
  • Cigna H. Edward Hanway: $25,839,777
  • Coventry Dale B. Wolf : $14,869,823
  • Health Net Jay M. Gellert: $3,686,230
  • Humana Michael McCallister: $10,312,557
  • U.Health Grp Stephen J. Hemsley: $13,164,529
  • WellPoint Angela Braly (2007): $9,094,271
    L. Glasscock (2006): $23,886,169

Ins. Co. & CEO With 2008 Total CEO Compensation

See Nonprofit Health Related CEO Compensation Here.

Update: “Why WellPoint’s Angela Braly Deserves A Raise”

Update: Health Insurance Company CEOs Total Compensation 2009

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  1. Stephen H. says:

    This data only shows that life is not fair at all. We pay for health insurance to get security when we or our loved ones will get sick. But the sad part is that we have to go through a very complicated process to prove to our provider that we are worthy of a claim while their executives are enjoying our money.

  2. It has been obvious for a long time that Insurance Executives are the robbers and destroyers of the American Health System due to their insatiable greed. They are all disgusting and the Congress should be getting to the root of the health care dilemma in America, oh, but wait, all of Congress is rich and greedy too. When the country bankrupts and the dollar is worthless around the world, then what you pitiful creatures of insurance.

  3. Stephen says:

    Awww! What a happy life they have while most companies deny the claims of many sick people out there. It’s actually disappointing that many of those who claim their benefits will end up in lawsuits. We pay for our health insurance to get a guaranteed medical care and look what happens to some policyholders.

  4. Josh Min says:

    Bravo, gotta love the American Dream.

    Even innocent kids have to suffer in this battle… I hope that these executives sleep well at night in any one of their many vacation homes knowing that people who can barely afford their insurance will potentially die due to denied claims….

    It’s all about the bottom line numbers and not about saving lives!

  5. Amy says:

    This makes me sick.
    I work in a hospital environment. I see sick people requesting medications they need from these health insurance agencies and getting denied constantly.

    Obviously if the company were really making profits that justified a CEO getting that much money why do they deny so many necessary services? OH wait because they do not make profits…they have just found a way to get between patients and their healthcare they are arm bending cheesy mobsters basically that have forced us to give them money FOR NOTHING!! They do nothing. They do not provide medication or any healthcare services EVER. All they do is deny and approve peoples requests. I do not feel like I should have to ask a third party if they think its okay I get medical care.

    If insurance companies gave people what they pay for (health insurance) then their would not be this debate about these salaries because the money would simply not be there. These disgusting people have no right to the money because its the money people pay them expecting that when the time comes, when they are sick, they will be taken care of, but they aren’t.

    These people deserve literally a very small salary they are disgusting evil human beings, and I would love if they were sick and someone denied them medication, they aren’t that smart they just do something most people find moral reprehensible they steal from the sick, orphan children, and ruin this country.

  6. Another example is professional sports salaries. These salaries were determined by an overpowering union that would think nothing of shutting down a sport for an entire season if all of their demands are not met.

  7. Every family is trying to keep their budgets under control, and part of every family�s budget is the cost of family health insurance. There are however, many options available for family health insurance and it is important to understand the different elements of health insurance and how they could potentially affect your family. Understanding what the different terms mean and how changing them can affect the protection offered through a family health insurance policy, is important in making the final decisions on what terms and conditions will be in the final contract. It is necessary to have as much family health insurance as possible because it could conceivably cost more to not have insurance than it does to have it. Children get sick and things happen in the course of daily life, and all it would take is one severe illness or one crippling accident to send a family without family health insurance to bankruptcy.

  8. Arnold says:

    wonderful blog. many thanks for this excellent posting. i appreciate it lots.

  9. Wow, huge amounts everywhere. I am really fascinated with this, and surprised from the fact that their compensation has already decreased at this rate. This is a nice way to view america’s health system.

  10. this does not surprise me at all , we had something similar in Australia

  11. Ray Wilson says:

    What is the total annual income of the U.S. health insurance industry and what is its source?

  12. Chris9876 says:

    Jonas Teslas wrote: “but to have the government limit salaries of citizens is socialism.”

    Corporate welfare (subsidies/grants/bailouts to corporations) is socialism! Google: “Corporate Welfare” and read for yourself. According to the rules of capitalism, an insolvent business enterprise is supposed to file bankruptcy; not be bailed out by taxpayers, and corporations are supposed to finance their businesses via debt (loans) or equity (shareholder capital), not via grants/subsidies from taxpayers. That is socialism for corporations:

    The Export-Import Bank: Corporate Welfare At Its Worst by Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) This country has a $6 trillion national debt, a growing deficit and is borrowing money from the Social Security Trust Fund in order to fund government services. We can no longer afford to provide over $125 billion every year in corporate welfare – tax breaks, subsidies, etc that goes to some of the largest, most profitable corporations in America. One of the most egregious forms of corporate welfare can be found at a little known federal agency called the Export-Import Bank, an institution that has a budget of about $1 billion a year and the capability of putting at risk some $15.5 billion in loan guarantees annually. At a time when the government is under-funding veterans’ needs, education, health care, housing and many other vital services, over 80% of the subsidies distributed by the Export-Import Bank goes to Fortune 500 corporations. Among the companies that receive taxpayer support from the Ex-Im are Enron, Boeing, Halliburton, Mobil Oil, IBM, General Electric, AT&T, Motorola, Lucent Technologies, FedEx, General Motors, Raytheon, and United Technologies. You name the large multinational corporation, many of which make substantial campaign contributions to both political parties, and they’re on the Ex-Im welfare line. Many of these same companies receiving taxpayer support pay exorbitant salaries and benefits to their CEOs

  13. preschool says:

    Great information. Thanks for sharing it.

  14. Neil says:

    Ok, I am going to be dead honest folks. I am a believer of capitalism, i really have no problem with CEOs making more money than all our pockets, bank and paypal accounts combined. I believe the higher the responsibility the higher the compensation should be but unfortunately job responsibility/complexity/difficulty/experience at such a high level is not really something you can gauge a set price on. So what is the right compensation then, what if we brought down their pay to only 1 mil a ear, would that finally be okay? Guess what, that would not solve anything because I bet you some people would still complain.

    You have to look at the big picture and think OUTSIDE the box. That’s not where the problem is folks, where the problem is, is that the healthcare industry as a whole forgot that they are a HEALTH CARE company and are instead run like a bank, only looking at Quarterly earnings, report numbers and thinking nothing but profits profits profits and forgetting that at the essence, they are providing a healthcare service, i repeat a HEALTH CARE service and not a financial management company.

    How much you want to bet, if every member truly was well taken care of, if there weren’t so many damn copays, deductibles and coverage denials from all these BS pre-existing conditions etc…, in other words, if the healthcare industry really was taking care of people’s health and focusing on saving lives vs saving $$, and execs were still somehow making their 20 mil a year (which is still possible by the way), then i bet no one would have a problem with that.
    I might even say: “heck! good for them, they sure deserve it!”

  15. Insurance companies make their money by screening out the unhealthy and taking on only the most healthy as risks. Thus, they make over 94% of their money FROM THE HEALTHY! Have you ever called your insurance company up and asked why your premium is so high? They’ll tell you – because costs are so high. Uh, but you say, I didn’t even use my insurance last year, except once when I had the flu. The doc charged me a day’s wage and told me to go home and rest. So, I went to work to pay for the doctor bill, which the insurance company didn’t pay. So – why is my premium going up? The answer is, because you’re paying for the 6% of insureds who are sick, you’re paying for the insurance companies’ profits, and naturally, the CEO of the company who helps make this wonderful system possible. Insurance does perform a function. You bet you’re gonna be sick and so prepay the insurance company through your premiums for your care. The insurance company bets you won’t, because they checked you out before they sent you your policy. Somethimes they’re wrong and do have to pay out. And then there’s the other people who can’t afford a policy or were turned down because they were risky prospects for the insurance company. It’s the system we’ve created, and now we’ll see what health care reform does for us. Can the government do any better? Any comments?

  16. AKO says:

    1. The fact is – no health care system in USA.
    2. According the USA TODAY (March 29,2010) Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said:
    “We can do better… We can lower costs and premiums…”
    Question – If you know how to do it – why you (Republicans) didn’t do it ?
    Republicans run this country for 8 years !!!
    Any questions?

  17. 99vicbike says:

    Greed, plain and simple. The Ceo’s are in it so deep that they really believe that they are the only righteous ones. Dont worry Judgment day comes equally for every man. Too bad
    they cant see the light we all can see

  18. Pam says:

    Oh God, of COURSE there is only ONE woman AND she is the lowest paid! Wonder if she gets them coffee at meetings :-(

  19. Bob says:

    Even more of a reason to pass health care reform. The current system only breeds corruption through the “bribery” of the Republican party by the special interest groups of the Insurance, Banking and Oil Industries for the sole purpose of Greed and the fleecing of the American public.

  20. Mike Morast says:

    I don’t think we should just take away their pay, we should take away their ability to steal this much money from the unprotected public.

    These people are in a class all their own. They are Nobles in a Kingdom created by the pure capitalistic environment they live in. Profits, profits, profits, are the reason we must have a Medicare type health care system. Tommy Douglas used to say, “It’s simple Math”. He started the health care system in Canada. He died in 1986 but he was elected the Greatest Canadian in 2004. Why was he elected the Greatest Canadian? Because he gave Canada their greatest gift. And even though there are some problems lately, because he isn’t here to fix them, they still like it better than profits for insurance CEO s.

  21. Reese Middleton says:

    We must Nationalize health care. This is the only way to stop this hemorrhage into the health insurance CEO’s pockets. Health care does NOT belong in a capitalist market. A true capitalist market dictates that if you have money, you get the goods/service. We can never morally live with ourselves to allow people to die in our ER’s if they don’t have insurance. We are already paying for this now and it is costing us greatly. The money is out there American’s. It just need to be cost shifted to the right place.

  22. Consfication of insurance of insurance companies by the government is a bad Ultimately the effect on the for-profit companies, would be (1), for those companies to idea. Insurance companies must be beat by what is called in their own jargon, “free Enterprise”. Presently, wood-be insurance subscribers have little choice., for a lack of alternative, but to pay exhorbitant premiums. The Federal Government must give buyers of insurance the choice they can afford and the care that they need. The Federal Government must set up a federal inshurance compeny of the citizens own. All workers paid according to the government list. will make for a less-expensive operation along with subsubdies, the government insurance premiums would be less costly than those of commercial companies. A Federal Health Insurance Company could compete with the for-profit companies and would attract customers because of its less costly premiums. For-profit insurance companies would be obligated to, (1), reduce imbursements, this would cause customer dissatisfaction, (2), to minimize running-costs by reducing staff ; this would cause ex-employee dissatisfaction and would help erode the reputation of the insurance companies and, (3), cost-cutting measures would, ultimately, affect the management; but that would occur, only after suffering had been spread through the lower ranks of the company.
    The benefits of a well-run federal insurance company are obvious; but those benefits are not obvious to many voters. Why? Many citizens feel disconnected from their government. They do not see the government as theirs, that is to say, the government workers as their employees, whom the citizens may fire at the next election. Presently, there is too much of the case of “we” (the citizens) and “they” (the government); each looking after his own interests. A government-run insurance company in a democracy is the citizens’ company. If a majority of the citizens perceives that there is an individual who is not running the company for the general well-being, those citizens may exercise their right as an actual members of the board; they may fire the miscreant by voting him out of government. Who has the wealth or power to change the make-up of any of the for-profit insurance companies? Very few. Those few are not looking after the welfare of the majority; they are looking after the welfare of their personal bank account.
    It is difficult for citizens to be heard The organs of the public needs, the media, are much financially obligated to very large companies, among whom are the for-profit health insurance companies. Never underestimate the persuasiveness of the media: There are millions of girls who are now, suffering from anorexia nervosa for having seen images of the “ideal” female. There are now, millions of smokers who have been persuaded that pleasure is more important health and who are doomed to dieing of lung cancer. However, it is still possible to think and to act for the common good and for an individual’s own well-being, by voting for a goverment-run insurance company, your health insurance company, run by your government.
    Know well and without equivocation, that: Health insurance companies function on the single axiom–Give us PROFIT, or we give you DEATH!
    Do we have to accept that ultimatum?
    –R.T. Thomes

  23. Andrew says:


    Also these companies(insurance and drug) are publicly traded companies owned by stock owners. So for anyone to think these companies should not make a profit, while all other industries do is absurd. Why would anyone buy stock in these companies if they cannot make the profits other companies do and cannot hire some of the best CEOs. So xyz insurance should hire a sh*t CEO for $500K a year, McDonalds can pay their CEO millions and hire one of the best. You think health care is a right well what about FOOD! Come on wake up, what your saying would be nice in a perfect world, but we are far from it.

  24. Andrew says:


    Obviously you’re missing the point. Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods, and every other singer, athlete, etc. are making millions or billions at the expense of Americans. Maybe that person does not have health insurance because they bought $500.00 a piece football tickets or went to a concert for $100.00 a pop. Many Americans cannot afford health insurance, but why? Is it b/c they truly cannot afford it or would they rather spend their money on luxurious items. Too many Americans live WAY BEYOND THEIR MEANS. $100 Cell phone plan, movie tickets, plasma tvs., blues ray DVDs (what a joke at $30.00 each), expensive clothes, expensive cars, CIGARETTES, too expensive of a home, expensive cable plans, internet, the list goes on. There are so many things we buy in everyday life that are jacked up in price because we pay these idiots to do ads on them. So by you saying their pay as nothing to do with your health, is ridiculous. I love how people complain about the price of their prescription drugs or health insurance, but it’s that same person that will buy a $50,000 car.

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