Highest-paid health insurance CEO earned $22M in 2016

In the highly compensated world of health insurance CEOs, Centene’s Michael Neidorff reigns supreme.

Neidorff earned a total of $22 million in 2016, making him the highest-paid executive of the eight largest publicly traded health insurers, according to a review of filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Still, Neidorff’s total compensation increased only marginally compared to 2015, when he earned $20.8 million. But the next highest-paid executive this year, Humana’s Bruce Broussard, saw a considerable raise: He collected $19.7 million in 2016 compared to $10.4 million the year prior.


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Humana had planned to be acquired by Aetna this year, but that deal—just like the merger between Anthem and Cigna—was blocked in federal court on antitrust grounds. Aetna and Humana then abandoned their merger plans, but Anthem is appealing.

Humana said in its proxy filing that it produced “exceptional results” last year despite the long regulatory review process related to its deal with Aetna, “which created significant uncertainty for our associates and our business prospects.”

The CEOs of the two would-be acquiring companies also scored raises in 2016. Anthem’s Joseph Swedish earned $16.5 million, up from $13.6 million in 2015, while Aetna’s Mark Bertolini earned $18.7 million in 2016, up from $17.3 million. Cigna CEO David Cordani, however, took a pay cut, earning $15.3 million in 2016 compared to $17.3 million the year prior.

RELATED: Health insurance CEO salaries top out at $17.3M in 2015

The only other CEO to earn less year-over-year was Molina Healthcare’s J. Mario Molina, who saw his total compensation dip slightly from $10.3 million to $10 million.

UnitedHealth’s Stephen Hemsley, meanwhile, earned $17.8 million in 2016, a jump up from the $14.5 million he was paid the year prior. The lowest compensated executive in the group was WellCare’s Ken Burdick, who collected $9.3 million last year, compared to $7.8 million in 2015.

Molly Walker contributed to this report.

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