Last year, the highest-paid executives at 10 of the nation's largest for-profit health plans received an average compensation, including salary, bonuses, life insurance, retirement plans, and other compensation — but not unexercised stock options — of $11.7 million, with the highest-paid executive, William W. McGuire of UnitedHealth Group, making $54.1 million.

The report is from Families USA, which is critical of the compensation levels. The organization extracted its data from information that the companies submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Highest compensation package, exclusive of unexercised stock options
William W. McGuire CEO UnitedHealth Group $54,129,501
Wilson H. Taylor Retired chairman Cigna $24,741,578
Ronald Williams Executive VP, large group businesses WellPoint Health Networks $13,205,631
William Donaldson Chairman Aetna U.S. Healthcare $12,650,393
Leonard Schaeffer Chairman & CEO WellPoint Health Networks $11,127,465
H. Edward Hanway Chairman & CEO Cigna $9,478,634
D. Mark Weinberg Executive VP WellPoint Health Networks $8,957,410
Richard Huber Ex-chairman, CEO, president Aetna U.S. Healthcare $6,988,987
William Pastore President, Cigna HealthCare Cigna $6,779,028
Thomas Jones President, retirement and investment services Cigna $6,055,314

The study took a second factor into account separately: the value of unexercised stock options. Executives on this list held unexercised options worth an average of $68 million in 2000, with the top executive (again, UnitedHealth Group's McGuire) holding options valued near $358 million.

Executives with the largest value of unexercised stock options
William W. McGuire CEO UnitedHealth Group $357,865,646
Stephen J. Hemsley President & CEO UnitedHealth Group $144,928,886
Norman C. Payson Chairman & CEO Oxford Health Plans $115,375,414
Wilson H. Taylor Retired chairman Cigna $66,141,372
Leonard Schaeffer Chairman & CEO WellPoint Health Networks $64,610,759
H. Edward Hanway Chairman & CEO Cigna $43,385,939
James G. Stewart Executive VP & CEO Cigna $41,049,922
Jeannine M. Rivet Executive VP & CEO, Ingenix UnitedHealth Group $39,450,395
R. Channing Wheeler CEO, Uniprise UnitedHealth Group $32,506,870
John W. Rowe President & CEO Aetna $25,026,549


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