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Health-Care Execs Get Huge Paychecks

Looks like some people aren’t too worried about health-care reform: The heads of the five biggest for-profit health insurance companies made almost $200 million in compensation in 2009 even as their companies planned to stick their customers with rate increases as high as 39 percent. CEOs of Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealth Group, and WellPoint all effectively got raises last year, according to a new report from a health-care activist group. The biggest payout went to H. Edward Hanway, who retired from Cigna with a retirement plan valued at $110.9 million. Only one exec, CEO of Aetna Ron Williams, got a pay cut, earning a paltry $18.2 million, down from his $24.4 million paycheck in 2008. Health insurers had a very good year in 2009, and in the first two quarters of this year, profits continued to climb 20 percent. Wellpoint made 51 percent more in the second quarter of 2010 compared with 2009, and Aetna’s net income jumped 40 percent. At the same time, premiums have gotten much more expensive, with Wellpoint increasing California rates as high as 39 percent, UnitedHealth raising them 15.5 percent in Rhode Island, and Humana customers in Utah paying 29 percent more.