Skip to main content

Washington Health Insurance Executives Outdid Their Oregon Counterparts

Our neighbor to the north doled out millions of dollars to its health insurance executives last year, with the CEOs of Community Health Plan of Washington, Group Health Cooperative, Regence BlueShield and Premera BlueCross walking away with hefty paychecks that included six-figure bonuses in filings submitted to Washington’s Insurance Commissioner.
June 26, 2014

The major health insurers in Washington state held onto their commanding 2.5 million members in 2013, not including self-funded employers such as Microsoft, Starbucks and Amazon, while doling out millions of dollars to high-ranking executives, and spending $1.5 million on board member compensation. All together, the six health plans spent $30.3 million on executive salaries. The data in this report came from the Washington Insurance Commissioner's office, and health plans do not include self-insured employees in their enrollment count.

Premera Blue Cross led the way. Not only did this not-for-profit health plan have the largest membership last year – 653,838 lives compared to 670,333 in 2012, without its 1.1 milion  self-funded employers, Its president and CEO, Herbert Randle Brereton Barlow, took home the largest paycheck. He earned $3.5 million, including $2.5 million in bonuses, representing a 17.26 percent increase. Premera insures more than 1.9 million people in its health, life, vision and dental plans, including FORTUNE 100 employer groups and also offers health plans in Alaska

Other senior staff members ended up with million-dollar salaries as well. Yoram Milo, secretary and executive vice president, was paid $1.4 million including an $883,880 bonus (+17.10%), while Kent Steven Marquardt earned $1.3 million with a bonus of $820,406 (+18.93%). Brian Eugene Ancell, another executive vice president, earned $1.2 million, including his bonus of $686,943 (8.56%).

Several of Premera’s board members were very well compensated, receiving six-figure checks. Robert Carlson Wallace, CEO of Wallace Properties, Inc., a commercial real estate firm based in Bellevue, received $119,500, and Kathryn Langlois Munro, principal of BridgeWest LLC, a private investment company, was paid $106,000. In all, Premera’s 13 board members took home $1.5 million.

LifeWise Health Plan is part of the Premera family of companies and recorded 94,217 members to Washington's Insurance Commissioner which represented a 13 percent decrease, and offers health plans in its three-state region including Oregon and Alaska.

John Mycalishyn, vice president, received the highest salary, $203,789, a 0.75 percent increase from 2012, followed by Jeffrey Edward Roe, CEO and president, who earned $89,012, a 2.69 percent jump from the previous year.

For a detailed look at board member compensation paid by all the major health plans, click here.

When it came to enrollment numbers that appeared on the Washington insurance filings, Regence BlueShield was closely behind Premera, having 541,745 members, while its affiliate in eastern Washington, Asuris Northwest Health, recorded 62,865 members. Those health plans did not share the number of self-insured employees.

Jared Short, president of health insurance services, saw his compensation rise by 43 percent, earning $476,970 from the Washington health plan, while Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon paid him $396,118, bringing his total compensation to $873,088.

Mark Ganz, the president and CEO of Cambia Health Solutions, the parent company of the Regence plans, ended up in the million dollar column once again, earning $1.1 million from both Regence and Asuris, including a $694,335 bonus —representing an overall 35 percent increase.

Ganz actually took home $2.5 million last year -- $856,976 in Oregon, $1,141,012 in Washington and $454,742 in Utah. He also earns a salary from the Regence plan in Utah, but that state does not disclose executive compensation.

Murphy Hensley, past market president of the Regence Washington plan, earned $867,175 from Regence in 2013, while his earnings rose by 45 percent, including a $286,755 bonus.

For a detailed look at all the executive compensation paid by health insurers in Washington last year, click here.

Molina Healthcare had 402,724 member last year in Washington, a 4 percent decrease and is a FORTUNE 500, multi-state healthcare organization that covers nearly 5 million people through Medicaid, Medicare and other government-funded programs.

Its highest salary went to Dr. Michael Owens, a former chief medical officer, who earned $531,251. He also had the highest bonus, $67,354. Next in line was Laurel Lee, vice president of provider network management, who brought home $455,024, including a $46,708 bonus. Bela Biro, CEO and the former president, earned $396,089 with a bonus of $59,500.

Group Health Cooperative is another big player in the Washington health insurance arena, and had 347,680 members last year -- not including any self-funded employers --  while its affiliate, Group Health Options, served 174,038 members in 2013, down by 13 percent. Its vice president, Laura Mae Sandstrom, took home the top salary, $333,352.

Salaries were considerably higher for the executives at the parent company, Group Health Cooperative. Its president and CEO, Scott Elliot Armstrong, earned $1.2 million, a 25.69 percent hike, including a $275,684 bonus.

Robert O’Brien, an executive vice president of health plan administration, came in second, earning $708,145, which represented a whopping 60.58 percent hike, and a bonus of $170,486.

Next in line was Mark Szalwinski, executive vice president of group practice division administration. He earned $573,827 and saw his compensation jump by 59.56 percent, along with a $363,782 bonus.

Szalwinski was followed closely behind by Dale Woods, executive vice president and general counsel, whose compensation topped $522,828, a 29.26 percent hike, including a $123,796 bonus.

Group Health also split $216,634 among its 11 board members.

Community Health Plan of Washington is funded by local community health centers, and had 285,957 members at year’s end, and divided $170,347 among its 19 board members.

To look at the health plan enrollment numbers for 2013 compared to the previous year, click here.

Its CEO, Lance Kirk, Hunsinger, earned $1 million last year, an 81.84 percent jump, with a bonus of $491,500. Other executives at Community Health Plan received much lower salaries, including Marlee Kay McGuire, chief operating officer, who saw her compensation rise by 2 percent, earning $409,358 with a $77,679 bonus, while Stacy Ann Kessel, chief financial officer, only had saw a 0.32 percent salary increase, earning $373,937 with a $74,750 bonus.

LifeWise Health Plan had the fewest members among the major health insurers in Washington – 94,217 representing a 13 percent decrease. However, LifeWise has more than 1.7 members in its three-state region including Oregon and Alaska.

John Mycalishyn, vice president, received the highest salary, $203,789, a 0.75 percent increase from 2012, followed by Jeffrey Edward Roe, CEO and president, who earned $89,012, a 2.69 percent jump from the previous year.


To look at the compensation of Oregon health insurance executives and their board compensation, click here