Horizon CEO Marino's $8.7 million pay raises ire of N.J., legislators

The CEOs of major for-profit health insurers may be raking in the big bucks, but there is no reason to cry for their nonprofit counterparts if the situation in New Jersey is any indicator--unless the tears fall for the subsequent state investigation that some lawmakers are calling for. William Marino, president and CEO of Newark-based Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, received 2009 compensation totaling $8.7 million ($934,000 in salary and $7.8 million in bonuses), an increase of 59 percent over 2008, reports the Asbury Park Press.

Other Horizon executives also fared well, with three pulling in more than $2 million in compensation and six getting more than $1 million. In total, 10 Horizon executives earned a collective $24.3 million in 2009, 61 percent more than in 2008, according to company filings with the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, reports the Star-Ledger. Bonuses made up a large part of the compensation growth for the 10 executives, increasing from $11.0 million in 2008 to $19.7 million in 2009.

In happier economic times, those increases might have raised more sighs than actual ire. But Horizon hiked insurance premiums by double digits at the same time that the plan executives were making "obscene, excessive and offensive" compensation, state Senate President Steve Sweeney tells The Record. Sweeney wants to hold legislative hearings to look at Horizon's executive compensation.

Horizon had been planning to convert to for-profit status but put those plans on hold during last year's election for the New Jersey governor. The company doesn't currently intend to move forward on the conversion.

To learn more:
- read this Asbury Park Press article
- read this Star-Ledger report
- read this article from The Record