Health Insurance Executive Information That Will Make You Sick

Insurance Scumbag Numero Uno

Willaim W. McGuire can suck my god damn dick.This is William W. McGuire. He was the head of United Healthcare Group, one of the largest health insurers in the U.S., from 1991 to 2006. He had to step down due to his involvement in a stock options scandal.

His punishment?

A $1.1 billion dollar compensation package, the then-largest golden parachute in the history of corporate America.

United Healthcare is one of the major players in the astro-turfing of health care debate. But it's self-protection, really. If they can't gouge the consumer then they can't afford to pay off their criminal employees.

So the next time your medical claim is denied due to a pre-existing condition, like acne, think of Mr. McGuire as you write your premium check.

Insurance Scumbag Numero Duo

Ronald A. Williams can suck my god damn dick.This is Ronald A. Williams, CEO of AETNA. His total compensation in 2008 was a tad over $24 million dollars.

When he joined the company in 2001 it was losing $266 million a year. By 2006 AETNA was making over $1.7 billion in profits.


By dumping over 8 million insurers who were deemed unprofitable. You know... sick people, while at the same time raising rates for everyone else.

Oh, and those "everyone else's"? Those are big corporations like Bank of America and FedEx. Yes, you're paying higher rates for those services because they're being charged higher insurance.

So you subsidize AETNA every time you send cookies to grandma. Sweet.

Insurance Scumbag Numero Three-o

H. Edward HanwayThis is H. Edward Hanway, CEO of CIGNA. Over the past five years he's been paid over $121 million dollars. Forbes Magazine lists him as the 28th highest paid CEO in the U.S.

In a world of Exxon's and Monsanto's, #28 is an impressive barometer of greed.

Recently, former 20-year CIGNA employee Wendell Potter has been on Capitol Hill sharing his experiences about the company. To wit:

"They confuse their customers and dump the sick, all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors. They look carefully to see if a sick policyholder may have omitted a minor illness, a pre-existing condition, when applying for coverage, and then they use that as justification to cancel the policy, even if the enrollee has never missed a premium payment. Dumping a small number of enrollees can have a big effect on the bottom line."

Small businesses, in particular, he said, have had trouble maintaining their employee health insurance coverage.

"All it takes is one illness or accident among employees at a small business to prompt an insurance company to hike the next year's premiums so high that the employer has to cut benefits, shop for another carrier, or stop offering coverage altogether.

Potter also faulted insurance companies for being misleading both in advertising their policies to new customers and in communicating with existing policyholders.

More and more people, he said, are falling victim to "deceptive marketing practices" that encourage them to buy "what essentially is fake insurance," policies with high costs but surprisingly limited benefits.

Insurance companies continue to mislead consumers through "explanation of benefits" documents that note what payments the insurance company made and what's left for consumers to pay out of pocket, Potter said.

The documents, he said, are "notoriously incomprehensible."
"Insurers know that policyholders are so baffled by those notices they usually just ignore them or throw them away. And that's exactly the point," he said. "If they were more understandable, more consumers might realize that they are being ripped off."

Insurance Scumbag Numero Four-o

Angela BralyThis is Angela Braly, CEO of Wellpoint, Inc. In 2008 her compensation package for this insurance company amounted to almost $10 million dollars.

Ms. Braly's opinion of health insurance is "One size does not fit all", which is corporate-speak for "If you're poor, you're screwed."

A recent quote of hers is "‘We will not sacrifice profitability for membership."

Translation: "I've got a private jet  and it ain't paying for itself, Chachi, so ante up, chump, unless you think you can get a better deal elsewhere. Bwahhh-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!!"

Addendum 10-5-09: A subsidiary of Wellpoint, Inc, Anthem Health Plans, is suing the entire state of Maine because they can't make enough profit off of them, in the face of the worst recession in 80 years. You can read the whole disgusting story here.

One last semi-related thing: Canada has now had universal coverage for its citizens since 1947. We can, too.

Know Your Scumbag Numero Five-O

alan wise and dale wolfToday we get a scumbag two-fer as CEO of Coventry Health Care, Dale Wolf (right) retired on 1-30-09. He was replaced by Alan Wise (left).

Compensation for Mr. Wise is hard to come by but Mr. Wolf made about $10 million his last year at the helm.

Know Your Scumbag, Part 5B

alan wise and dale wolfWe need to make an unscheduled stop in the March of Scumbags as United Health Care, CEO William W. McGuire's (left) corporate crib features prominently in an odious story that was presented Wednesday nght on NPR's "The Story".

It seems that a young couple, Greg and Heather Mroz, (see below) were expecting twins. Even though Greg had lost his construction job they were still paying $1200 a month from savings in order to maintain their coverage.

There were complications in the pregnancy and the twins arrived prematurely. It was only then that the Mroz's discovered that United Health was claiming they violated the terms of their policy because the Mroz's had more than one baby.

Yes, they had an extra baby and their insurance company treated them like they secretly had asthma, or acne.

Only in America.

grea and Heather MrozNow the Mroz's are $500,000 in the red and the insurance company won't talk to them. In fact, they hang up on the couple the moment it knows it's them. United Health is also keeping the $6000 in insurance payments over the previous five months with no explanation.

The Mroz's are now facing bankruptcy, are virtually penniless and are now living at home with his parents. They've acquired a lawyer, obviously on contingency, and are planning to fight this.

The story is so much worse than my simple recollection. I encourage you to spend a few minutes listening to the Mroz's tell the story themselves here.

This wouldn't happen with a single-payer plan. It's time to get in step with the rest of the civilized world.

Know Your Scumbag, Part 5C

H. Edward HanwayJust when I'm ready to move on to the next insurance company sleezebag, up pops a story I cannot resist.

This is our old friend, H. Edward Hanway. He's the CEO of Cigna Insurance, a job which pays him a cool $12 million a year. (That we know of.)

So here's the latest tale involving Eddie's day job:

Nataline Sarkisyan (see below) was a 17-year-old girl who needed a liver transplant. Her parents had insurance with Cigna but the company declined to authorize the surgery as they considered it "experimental", even though that's far from the case.

As Cigna stalled Nataline's condition became worse. She contracted a lung infection while waiting in the hospital and was eventually put into an induced coma to save her life.

Finally, after weathering a media firestorm over their obvious heartlessness the company relented and okayed the procedure. Nine hours later, long before the surgery could be undertaken, Nataline died from complications of her disease in December 0f 2007.

Nataline SarkisyanHilda Sarkisyan, the mother, Nataline, walked into Cigna headquarters on October 7th, 2009, demanding a formal apology from the company for the death of her daughter.

All she received for her efforts were employees giving her the finger from the second floor atrium.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Cigna. Don't ask for it by name.

Know Your Scumbag, Numero Six-O

Stephen J. HemsleyThis is Stephen J. Hemsley, CEO of UnitedHealth Group. His compensation totaled only $3.2 million in 2008 but was $13 million n 2007.

UnitedHealth Group has been one of the most active companies reisisting health care reform, even advising their employees to attend and disrupt the many town hall meetings around the country using a list of company-supplied talking points.

Conveniently enough, on August 25th, 2008, Keith Olbermann offered an expose on UnitedHealth Goup's underhanded tactics on his Countdown program. It can be seen here.

Know Your Scumbag, Numero Seven-O

dennis j. manningThis is Dennis J. Manning, CEO of Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. I don't know what his salary is but I do know that his company paid out $723 million dollars in dividends in2008 on profits of $437 million, a rise of almost 50% over the previous year. The company currently has $4.3 billion in capital reserves.

I mention all this because one of their clients, a Mr. Ian Pearl (see below) is a victim of muscular dystrophy and requires a tube down his throat to breathe. Thanks to a business life insurance policy taken out from Mr. Manning's company Ian's family can afford the $1 million each year required for his care.

ian pearlBut it seems that $1 million a year is too much of a burden for Guardian's investors, and since they cannot legally cancel Mr. Pearl's policy individually they simply cancelled the entire line of insurance. No one knows exactly how many other policy holders got the shaft but for Mr. Pearl this is a death sentence.

For all the gory details of this story here.

Know Your Scumbag, Numero 7b

dennis j. manningIt's our old friend Stepen J. Hemlsley, CEO of United HealthCare, back to put a happy face on his company's heartless cruelty, although this time a subsidiary of United HealthCare, Golden Rule, is the actual villain.

It seems that a young woman named Peggy Robertson of Centennial, Colorado (see below) had recently delivered a baby via c-section. Afterwards she decided to get some health insurance but Golden Rule told her she was ineligible for their plans because of the c-section. They told her that they would consider her for coverage if she had herself sterilized.

Yes, sterilize yourself, they said, and everything's hunky-dory.

peggy robertsonKeep in mid this is a normal, healthy young woman and but for the fact that she had a c-section she could not be insured.

For anything.


For more details go here.

You can watch a short video of Peggy telling her story here.

Know Your Scumbag, Numero 8-O

edward "nazi boy" hanwayOn October 15th, 2009, Dawn Smith — who has a brain tumor her insurer has refused to help treat — traveled from her home in Atlanta, Georgia to request a meeting with H. Edward Hanway, CEO of the health insurance giant CIGNA. (That's him in the mustache) She has been a victim of a series of insurance company abuses, and she wanted to give both Hanway and leaders in Congress a message. Hanway refused to meet with Smith, and instead dispatched his Cheif Medical Officer Jeff Kang to listen to her. Kang admitted that CIGNA’s complex claims unit requires serious changes but said his company would not even review the possibility of paying for her care until November.

Smith, a premiums-paying customer of CIGNA, was diagnosed with a type of brain tumor in 2005, then another one in 2007. Although CIGNA covered her brain biospy and some medication payments, she has battled with the insurer for years because of multiple denials of payment for the specialized care she needs to cure the tumors. After paying out-of-pocket for care in one instance, CIGNA nearly doubled her premiums anyway. In early October, a CIGNA representative told her that the co-pay on her anti-epileptic medicine was being hiked by more than $3,000 a year.

With the assistance of, Smith has launched a nationwide campaign to not only receive the treatments she deserves from her insurance company, but to help reform the entire system and help all Americans gain quality, affordable healthcare. ThinkProgress asked Smith what message she has for Congress:

DAWN SMITH: I would encourage them to hear the stories from their citizens because, you know, a lot of people talk about the cost [to] children of our future, our grandchildren. But, there are grandchildren dying now. There are children dying now. […] I don’t understand how you can justify ‘die now, so we can save money later.’ Because that’s what it is; that’s what it boils down to.

CIGNA has a long history of denying care for its own policyholders. One of the most infamous cases involves Nataline Sarkisyan, a 17-year-old who died after CIGNA refused to cover her liver transplant. When Nataline’s mother requested a meeting with CIGNA officials, employees of CIGNA reportedly started heckling her from a balcony above the building’s lobby, with one giving her “the finger.”

Rather than use Smith’s or Sarkisyan’s premium dollars to pay for life-saving medical treatments, CIGNA has poured its cash into lobbying against health reform. Those premium dollars are also spent on two private luxory jets, sky-high CEO compensation (Hanway was paid $25.8 million in 2007 alone), and profits.

UPDATE In an e-mail, Dawn Smith said that CIGNA's PR officials never explained to her why the the insurance company had denied her coverage nine times. They instead showed her "promotional YouTube videos about other cases they'd successfully resolved."

You can see Ms. Smith tell her story here.

(This story was lifted from I doubt they really mind.)

Know Your Scumbag, Numero 9-O

Cleve KillingsworthThis is Cleve Killingsworth, CEO of Blue Cross/Blue Shield. His salary jumped 25% to $3.5 million last year, even though the company's net income slid 49%.

Mr. Killingsworth's company is similar to several insurance company's at the moment in that they are denying coverage if a woman has been raped.

As an example, a 28-year-old woman was recently raped and while at the hospital revealed she'd also been assaulted when she was 17. Blue Cross summarily denied payment for her treatment and would not pay for medication or trauma because "she had been raped before".

Another example, though not a client of Blue Cross, was drugged and raped by two men she met at a bar. After taking anti-AIDS medicine she can no longer get health insurance. The irony? She was a former health insurance underwriter.

For more details on these stories, go here.

Punishing women for sexual trauma is disgusting. This would not happen under a single-payer plan. Contact your congressman today.

Addendum: Blue Cross is sending out the following postage-paid card encouraging people to oppose the public option. Don't throw it away. Just... modify it a little:

Know Your Scumbag, Numero Ten-O

michael mccallisterAhhh, good old Michael McCallister, the Humana head honcho, the $60 million dollar CEO.

What's his little company been up to lately? Let's go see...

Well, for one thing they've been mailing misleading literature about health reform to senior citizens. This is especially disgusting as nearly two-thirds of their revenue comes from Medicare Advantage or, as they like to call it, the Golden Goose.

Let's see... what else?

Oh, one of their former employees, Linda Peeno recently blabbed about the company's business methods to members of Congress. The highlights include her being told that her job not only requires her to deny coverage but that the medical reviewer (her position) with the highest denial rate got a Christmas bonus. How jolly!

In addition, at the same time she was denying a heart transplant, the office was installing a piece of scuplture that could have paid for the transplant.

Oops! Make that eight transplants as the sculpture cost $3.8 million dollars.

For more disgusting details on Humana's business practices read the whole story at

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