Former CIGNA executive-turned-whistleblower Wendell Potter is writing about the health care industry and the ongoing battle for health reform for the Center for Public Integrity.
If health insurance companies announce big premium increases on policies for 2015, I hope regulators, lawmakers and the media will look closely at whether they are justified, especially in light of recent disclosures of better-than-expected profits in 2013, rosy outlooks for the rest of this year, and soaring CEO compensation.
Almost all of the publicly traded health insurers reported big increases in revenue and profits last year. The big winners have been the top executives of those companies, led by Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna, the nation’s third largest health insurer. Bertolini’s total compensation of $30.7 million in 2013 was 131 percent higher than in 2012.
If the stock prices of these firms keep growing at the current pace, Bertolini and his peers can expect to be rewarded even more handsomely this year, especially if they can hike premiums high enough to satisfy shareholders.
According to Health Plan Week, a trade publication, the CEOs of the 11 largest for-profit companies were rewarded with compensation packages last year totaling more than $125 million.