WellPoint CEO Braly received a 51 percent compensation boost in 2009

A $1.5 million performance bonus was just the tip of the iceberg for WellPoint's Angela Braly, whose total compensation for 2009 skyrocketed 51 percent from 2008 to $13.1 million. The performance bonus was up from a mere (by comparison) $73,810 in 2008. 

While WellPoint spokesman Jon Mills insisted to the Los Angeles Times that rising healthcare costs and a need to "retain the best quality [employees]" were the primary factors in the hefty pay raises, policyholder Mark Weiss expressed a different sentiment. 

"It's unconscionable," said Weiss, who's policy rate is set to rise by 35 percent this year, told the Times. "How much more does somebody need?" 

Most of Braly's salary was in the form of restricted stock valued at $6.2 million. She is the third CEO of the "Big Five" health insurance companies--Aetna, Cigna, Humana and UnitedHealth Group are the others--to have her 2009 salary made publicly available. 

Last month, it was revealed that Humana's Michael McCallister earned $6.5 million in 2009--a 26 percent increase from 2008; Cigna's David Cordani actually saw his compensation go down roughly 7 percent, from $7.1 million in 2008 to $6.6 million in 2009. 

Three other WellPoint executives--Wayne DeVeydt, Ken Goulet and Dijuana Lewis--all received compensation bumps between 63 and 75 percent, according to the insurer's proxy statement. DeVeydt, the company's chief financial officer, had a total compensation package worth $7.2 million in 2009, up from $4.1 million in 2008. Goulet, the president of WellPoint's commercial business unit, had a total compensation package of $4.4 million in 2009, up from $2.7 million in 2008. Lewis's compensation package for 2009 totaled nearly $4.5 million, up from $2.7 million in 2008. 

For more information:
- read this Los Angeles Times article
- here's WellPoint's proxy statement