Top Blues execs in Alabama receive million-dollar pay increases

Top 10 executives at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama earned an additional $1 million each in 2013, and collectively have doubled their pay since 2011, according to an article on AL.com.

In a report filed with the Alabama Department of Insurance, the executives increased their total compensation 103 percent from 2011 to 2013, Al.com reports.

This group of execs, dubbed "the million-dollar club" is headed by President and CEO Terry D. Kellog, whose total annual compensation was $4.84 million. The package includes a salary of $999,959, bonuses totaling $3,580,651 and other compensation of $257,227, AL.com writes.

Kellog's total compensation in 2013 was a 95.5 percent raise from 2011 when his total compensation was $2.47 million.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama said in a statement that the executive pay was in line with industry standards, reviewed by an independent auditor and approved by an independent board.

"Executive compensation is not a factor in determining health insurance premiums," Alabama Blues spokeswoman Koko Mackin wrote in an emailed statement. Mackin blamed the Affordable Care Act with its reconfiguration of health insurance markets for bumping up premiums.

And yet other Blues have also reported increases for their top CEOs. Last spring, FierceHealthPayer reported that six top executives at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina earned at least $1 million in 2013.

The Center for Public Integrity is not buying it, however. The burgeoning payer profits go into health insurance executives' pockets, says Wendell Potter, a writer for the Center, in a commentary.

"The big winners have been the top executives of those companies, led by Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna, the nation's third largest health insurer," Potter writes. "Bertolini's total compensation of $30.7 million in 2013 was 131 percent higher than in 2012."

"If the stock prices of these firms keep growing at the current pace, Bertolini and his peers can expect to be rewarded even more handsomely this year, especially if they can hike premiums high enough to satisfy shareholders," Potter writes.

To learn more:
- read the article
- here's the commentary