Aetna, UnitedHealth CEOs get millions in payouts

Health plans' payouts to their chief executives are coming under media scrutiny again as the CEOs of Aetna (NYSE: AET) and UnitedHealth (NYSE: UNH) drew millions of dollars in compensation last year.

Former Aetna CEO Ronald Williams was compensated $72 million in 2010, including $14.3 million in stocks that vest later and depend on performance, reports the Hartford Courant. The largest source of pay for Williams was $50.4 million in value realized through the exercise of options that were granted in 2001, and would have expired in early 2011. He also received $1.1 million in salary, $2.75 million in incentive pay, an additional $2.3 million in pension value and other compensation of $299,838.

Williams' payout ranks among the highest of any 2010 compensation package, USA Today reports.

Meanwhile, UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley received $10.8 million last year, up from $8.9 million in 2009. Hemsley received a salary and performance-related bonus of $4.7 million and stock and options valued at $6 million. UnitedHealth also gave him $110,079 in other compensation, mostly for matching contributions under an executive savings plan, according to the Washington Post.

Hemsley has served as chief executive since 2006, and his $1.3 million salary remained unchanged for the fourth straight year. But his performance-related bonus jumped 74 percent to $3.4 million in 2010. The value of his stock and options also rose. The company said in the filing it considered its "strong growth, operating performance and financial results, achieved in a difficult economic environment" in determining pay last year, the Post notes.

To learn more:
- read the Hartford Courant article
- see the Washington Post story
- check out the USA Today piece

Suggested Articles

The death of liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg could further endanger the ACA, or lead to more rounds of litigation, experts say.

We may not yet have a proven therapy to treat COVID-19 or a vaccine to stop its spread, but we do have a tool at our disposal that can help: Medicaid.

Digital transgender health company Plume is expanding into employee benefits. Here's why.