Why Angela Braly, CEO of the WellPoint Insurance Co., Deserves a Raise
Filed under: Health Benefit Costs, Insurance Companies, Private Insurance
Angela Braly, CEO of health insurance giant WellPoint, deserves a raise. As regular readers of this column know, Ms. Braly did not make as much as Aetna’s Ronald A. Williams in 2008.
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….
Less than half of what Mr. Williams brought in, in 2008 Ms. Braly was forced to make ends meet on $9,844,212.
In 2007, her first year on the job: $9,094,271. Which, for those keeping score at home, is $174,889.83 per week. Her predecessor at Wellpoint, Larry Glasscock, received $23,886,169 in total compensation in 2006. Again, in 2008 Ms. Braly had to get by on $189,311.76 per week. True, it was $14,421.93 more per week than she had made the year prior, but that won’t be nearly sufficient for this year.
So why does Angela Braly deserve a raise? Pay so high that the FDIC limits on insurance (yes, it’s somewhat ironic) won’t work for her weekly paycheck? Because WellPoint subsidiary Anthem Blue Cross of California has found the audacity to raise individual insurance premiums in that state 39%. That’s right, 39%. This, according to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, “as WellPoint Incorporated, has seen its profits soar, earning $2.7 billion in the last quarter of 2009 alone.”
Profits “soar,” raise rates. What more could Wall Street want?
Secretary Sebelius has demanded “justification” for the increase. In a letter sent to the Wellpoint subsidiary Anthem Blue Cross, she writes:
One of the biggest pressures facing families, businesses and governments at every level are skyrocketing health insurance costs. With so many families already affected by rising costs, I was very disturbed to learn through media accounts that Anthem Blue Cross plans to raise premiums for its California customers by as much as 39 percent. These extraordinary increases are up to 15 times faster than inflation and threaten to make health care unaffordable for hundreds of thousands of Californians, many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet in a difficult economy.
Your company’s strong financial position makes these rate increases even more difficult to understand. As you know, your parent company, WellPoint Incorporated, has seen its profits soar, earning $2.7 billion in the last quarter of 2009 alone.
And there you have it, profits soar, raise rates, the stock soars–as will, presumably, Ms. Braly’s stock options. She won’t have “to get by on $189,311.76 per week” for all that much longer. With that kind of move it’s only a matter of time before she finds herself in Mr. Williams’ neighborhood.
Now that the healthcare reform debate awaits its Summit, from the vantage point of its nadir, one might imagine other Insurance Company CEO’s to embark upon a similar strategy. Good thing we jettisoned all those proposed pesky insurance regulations contained in the House & Senate bills.
Because it never gets old to me, here’s the list of Insurance Company CEO Total Compensation:
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
- Aetna, Ronald A. Williams: $24,300,112
- Cigna, H. Edward Hanway: $12,236,740
- Coventry, Dale Wolf: $9,047,469
- Health Net, Jay Gellert: $4,425,355
- Humana, Michael McCallister: $4,764,309
- U. Health Group, Stephen J. Hemsley: $3,241,042
- Wellpoint, Angela Braly: $9,844,212