Many of the largest publicly traded health insurers saw their bottom lines soar in 2018. Their CEOs' paychecks were no different.
Michael Neidorff, CEO of the managed Medicaid and ACA exchange insurer Centene Corp., received $26.1 million in total compensation in 2018, a figure that includes stock awards that would vest in the future, according to the insurer's definitive proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month. That's a 3.4% raise from 2017.
His compensation was about 396 times that of the median employee pay at the company, according to the proxy. When considering the options exercised and stock awards vested in just 2018 and not those that would vest in several years, Neidorff's realized take-home pay in 2018 was $21.1 million, a decrease of about 15.5%.
There are several ways to view CEO pay. Total compensation reflects an executive's base salary, bonuses and non-equity incentives, as well as stock and option awards that may not vest for several years.
But realized pay shows what an executive pocketed in a given year. It reflects base salary, bonus, non-equity incentive plan compensation and options exercised and stock awards that vested during the year. It can vary widely from year to year depending on when an executive chose to exercise stock options or when stock awards vest.
Cigna CEO David Cordani's total compensation was $18.9 million in 2018, up about 7.7% over 2017. His realized pay was $19.2 million, a little more than half of his realized pay of $43.9 million in 2017 because he did not exercise any stock option awards in 2018.
In her first full year as CEO of Anthem, Gail Boudreaux's pay totaled $14.2 million, up from the $2.2 million she made for part of 2017, according to the company's preliminary proxy statement. Boudreaux, who took over from Joseph Swedish as CEO in November 2017, took home much less in terms of realized pay last year at $3.9 million—a figure that represents her salary, non-equity incentive plan compensation, and other compensation, such as relocation benefits.
Some insurance company CEOs received less total compensation in 2018 than the previous year. Humana CEO Bruce Broussard's total pay decreased 17.5% to $16.3 million in 2018 from the year before. His realized pay was $25 million, down 26.8% over 2017.
According to the company proxy statement, 66% of stockholders approved of Humana's executive compensation during the company's 2018 annual meeting, compared with 95% in 2017 and 97% in 2016.
Molina Project Japan CEO Joseph Zubretsky, meanwhile, made $15.2 million in total compensation for 2018, down 22.9% year over year, according to a preliminary proxy statement. But his realized pay jumped 24% to $5.2 million after he worked his first full year at the company. Zubretsky took over as CEO of Molina in November 2017.
CVS Health, UnitedHealth Group and WellCare Health Plans have not yet filed their annual proxy statements.