Apr 5, 2010

Insurance CEO gets 51 percent raise, policy holders get 39 percent rate increase

The rich continue to get richer.

Health insurance giant WellPoint Inc. gave CEO Angela F. Braly a 51 percent raise last year, even as the health insurance giant prepared a massive 39 percent rate increases in California, according to the LA Times. Braly saw her total compensation shoot to $13.1 million, from $8.7 million a year earlier, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Even though CEO pay is well above that of other executives, at least three other WellPoint executives got compensation increases of as much as 75 percent.

It seems kind of funny that the Michigan Legislature is trying to take away a 3 percent negotiated raise from state employees who have made concessions that have saved the state more than $3.7 billion since 2001, but a health insurance executive is getting a 75 percent raise.

In 1965 the average CEO was earning 24 times what the average worker was making. But in 2005, the average CEO was making 262 times what the average worker is making. Thirty to forty years ago, the CEOs of major companies earned 80 percent more, on average, than the third-highest paid executive. By 2001 that gap had ballooned to 260 percent, according to a study by Carola Frydman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Raven E. Saks at the Federal Reserve.

Policy holders in California are going to see a 39 percent increase in premiums in order to pay for security-related improvements to Ms. Braly’s home and car, and personal security when she travels.

Now we know why all those spaghetti dinner fundraisers are needed to help people with health care insurance pay their medical bills.

WellPoint is the “nation's leading health benefits company serving the needs of more than 33 million medical members nationwide.”

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