Oregon, Washington Executive Salaries Continue Upward Spiral

Once again, Mark Ganz, president and CEO of Cambia Health Solutions, was the highest paid health insurance executive in Oregon.

Health insurance executives in the Pacific Northwest took home healthy salaries and bonuses in 2016, based on financial records filed in Oregon and Washington.

Among Oregon insurers, Regence BlueCross BlueShield executives were the highest paid, with its top 10 executives pulling down $4.6 million, representing an 18 percent increase over the prior year.

Mark Ganz, president and CEO of Cambia Health Solutions, the parent company of Regence, BlueCross BlueShield, commanded the top salary in Oregon, $1 million, followed by Jared Short, Cambia’s chief operating officer, at $563,024.

Cambia also offers insurance plans in Washington, Utah and Idaho. However, Idaho is exempt by statute from having to disclose executive compensation, Combined, Ganz earned $2.8 million last year in the three other states; Jared Short, $1.5 million; Vincent Price, principal financial officer, $1.3 million; and John Attey, senior vice president, $756,636.

In Oregon, Regence did quite well in terms of profitability last year, compared to its competitors, bringing home a profit of $30,214,856, up from $25,831,413 in 2015.

LifeWise Struggled, Providence Grew

Profits remained elusive for LifeWise last year, which has since pulled out of Oregon after losing $6.7 million in 2016. Yet its former CEO Majd El-Azma, principal executive officer, earned $654,537 including a bonus of $351,289, which represented a 16.3 percent increase over 2015.

Providence Health Plan had the highest growth in 2016, adding 53,263 new members, which brought its overall membership to 271,684, which did not include Providence Assurance, the program under which Providence reports government enrollments and its Medicaid members.

Its CEO, Michael Cotton, earned $473,603, followed by Michael White, principal financial officer at $316,663, and Dr. Robert Gluckman, chief medical officer, who brought home

$310,632. Both White and Gluckman saw their compensation packages decrease, while the same wasn’t true of Cotton who joined Providence in mid-2015 following the retirement of Jack Friedman.

The executives at Moda Health also witnessed a salary decrease, and had a rough year after their health plan nearly went into receivership when they counted on funds from the Affordable Care Act that didn’t materialize. Last year, Moda shed 86,474 members as it worked to stabilize its finances.

Robert Gootee, CEO, saw his compensation decline by 34 percent to reach $267,175, while William Johnson, president, brought home $374,945, representing a 21 percent decrease. Gootee, who is also CEO of Oregon Dental Service, earned a combined salary of $534,350 from both insurers. 

It’s been nearly two years since Health Net was sold to Centene Corporation, a Fortune 500 company based in St. Louis, which also purchased Agate Resources, the parent company of Trillium Community Health Plan, a coordinated care organization in Lane County.

It’s unknown whether the salary reported by Chris Ellertson, the president and CEO of Health Net, included his role as CEO of Trillium. Ellertson took home $505,037 last year, which included stock awards of $235,017 and a $129,575 bonus even though Health Net suffered a $32 million loss at year’s end. His medical director, Dr. William Carnett, earned $406,017.

The executives at PacificSource appeared to be the lowest paid among their competitors, which is similar to prior years. Dr. John McEachern, senior medical director, took home $333,636; followed by Bradley Westphal, regional manager of senior products at $187,638, while Ken Provencher, CEO and President, earned $140,029, according to 2016 financial reports.

ATRIO Health Plan based in Roseburg, which sells all lines of insurance, paid Ruth Rogers-Bauman, its CEO, $407,415, including a bonus, which represented a 4.4 percent increase, while its medical director, Dr. Thomas Culhane, earned $339,044.

It’s unknown how much Kaiser Permanente pays its executives in the Northwest region, because the health plan only reports the salaries of its national executives such as Bernard Tyson, principal executive officer, CEO and president. His compensation package of $8.5 million included $6 million in bonuses. Group president Donna Lynne, meanwhile, brought home $5.2 million. Kaiser Northwest earned a profit of $40.3 million last year, up from a loss of $14 million the previous year.

It’s not uncommon for insurers to compensate their board members. Kaiser was the most generous, writing checks to 13 board members totaling $2.8 million. ATRIO, Health Net, Moda, Oregon Health Service, PacificSource, Providence and Regence also handed out checks to board members.

Washington Execs Fared Well

The merger between Group Health Cooperative and Kaiser Health Plan last year was a boon to former Group Health executives. Scott Armstrong, the new president and CEO, earned $2.2 million followed by Robert O’Brien, executive vice president of the health plan division who brought home $1.3 million, while Rick Woods, executive vice president and senior advisor to the president, earned $1.2 million.

Executives at Premera BlueCross were next in line. Their principal executive officer, Jeffrey Roe, took home $2.3 million, while Kent Marquadt, principal financial officer, earned $1.3 million.

Then came Peter Adler, principal executive officer of Molina Health, at $825,049, followed by Dr. Frances Gough, chief medical director at $492,634 and Randy Barker, chief operating officer at $443,040.

A not-for-profit, Community Health Plan of Washington, saw its CEO Lance Hunsinger, who left last August, earn $722,404. His replacement, Leanne Berge, came on board in early December. Meanwhile, Marilyn McGuire, chief operating officer earned $612,217, and Dr. Victor Collymore, chief medical officer brought home $572,227.

Kaiser also divvied up $500,863 to its board members in Washington, while Community Health Plan, Molina Health, Premera and Regence also rewarded its board members.

The compensation figures reported in this article came from the Oregon, Washington and Utah insurance departments.

Diane can be reached at [email protected].

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Great work on reporting the executive compensations of the major health insurers.  So,  does Cambia believe that the ACA is imploding, given their officers' 18% annual pay raise??  And did the execs from the companies that lost money take a pay cut, like their insureds whose premiums sky rocketed or whose  benefits were substantially reduced?  Appears not.  Just more evidence as to why our country insanely continues to rely of profit based health insurers for our health care.  A Single payer system is the only answer that truly will provide health care to everyone, regardless of ability to pay.  Health care is a right that our country can easily afford.  Annual raises for the elite of Health insurers is not a right.  It's a travisty.  Do we need more bombs or more biology to cure terminal diseases?  The answer is obvious.  The solution seems impossible given societies greed and paranoia.  What will it take to end this insanity?

Robert Milleer 

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