Blue Shield of California reveals executive pay

After several years of questions about executive pay coupled with criticism surrounding the insurer's transparency, Blue Shield of California has issued a detailed report of its top 10 executive salaries in 2015.

CEO Paul Markovich made a base salary of $1.07 million last year, which was supplemented with more than $2.4 million in performance-based incentives. Markovich's $3.5 million in annual earnings were far less than CEOs at the nation's largest insurance companies, which range from $10.3 million to $17.3 million.

The new disclosure comes more than seven months after Markovich pledged to disclose more about executive compensation at the company and more than a year after the California Franchise Tax Board revoked Blue Shield's tax-exempt status.

With its new report, the company wanted to "lift the veil and make sure we are going above and beyond what is required so there is a higher level of transparency," Blue Shield of California spokesman Steve Shivinsky tells Kaiser Health News.

But several critics were not as enthusiastic about the move, arguing that this level of transparency should have been present years ago, and noting that the report did not include salaries prior to 2015 or the retirement compensation that was paid out to executives. Previous reports indicated former CEO Bruce Bodaken was paid $20 million as part of his retirement package, a figure Shivinsky called "speculative."

"Blue Shield is a black hole when it comes to where the money is going," Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, tells KHN. "They are the least transparent health insurance company in America."

To learn more:
- here's the Blue Shield of California report
- read the KHN article

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