Members of a Senate health panel on Monday questioned Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield officials about premium increases and the 200 people it laid off in 2009, the same year executives saw large pay increases.
CEO William J. Marino has been criticized in recent weeks for the $8.7 million he was paid in 2009, 59 percent more than the previous year. The company has said the increase and others among the executive team were the result of one-time payments prompted by a change in the tax law.
At a Senate health committee hearing, Sen. Fred Madden (D., Camden) pressed Marino on how he could justify $31 million in total employee bonuses in a year when he also laid off about 200 people, with salaries totaling about $14 million.Is that $8.7 mil subject to the 2.5% cap? Senators want to know:
Committee Chairwoman Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D., Bergen) questioned how much of Horizon's $8.3 billion in 2009 revenues came from public tax dollars. Depending on that figure, she said, she could push for the Legislature to impose a cap on executive pay.
The bulk of Horizon's revenues comes from private employers.The Inqy, of course, is not going to give you the source for that. But file this next quote under "Burying the Lede":
The discussion only dabbled in premium increases. Frederick Carr, township administrator for Bloomfield, Essex County, told the panel the township's health plan with Horizon, which covered more than 400 full-time employees, cost $8.13 million in 2008. Last year it jumped to $10.15 million before he negotiated it down slightly and then switched to Cigna.Yeah, um, hello? Maybe this has something to do with the rising cost of our schools, towns, libraries, etc.? Maybe if we got this under control, we wouldn't have to slash state aid and could give teachers and other public employees reasonable raises? Maybe we shouldn't be "dabbling" in this? Maybe this is a big part of the problem?