Executive Information That Will Make You Sick
Scumbag Numero Uno
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.
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.
Scumbag Numero Duo
is Ronald A. Williams, CEO of AETNA. His total
compensation in 2008 was a tad over $24 million
When he joined
the company in 2001 it was losing $266 million
a year. By 2006 AETNA was making over $1.7 billion
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
you're paying higher rates for those services
because they're being charged higher insurance.
subsidize AETNA every time you send cookies to
Scumbag Numero Three-o
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
In a world of Exxon's and Monsanto's, #28 is an impressive barometer
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
Potter also faulted insurance companies for being misleading both in
advertising their policies to new customers and in communicating with
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
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
Scumbag Numero Four-o
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
is corporate-speak for "If you're poor, you're screwed."
A recent quote of hers is "‘We will not sacrifice profitability
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
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.
Your Scumbag Numero Five-O
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.
Your Scumbag, Part 5B
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
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
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
Yes, they had an extra baby and their insurance company treated them
like they secretly had asthma, or acne.
Only in America.
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.
Your Scumbag, Part 5C
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.
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.
Your Scumbag, Numero Six-O
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
Conveniently enough, on August 25th, 2008, Keith Olbermann offered an
expose on UnitedHealth Goup's underhanded tactics on his Countdown program.
can be seen here.
Your Scumbag, Numero Seven-O
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
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.
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.
Your Scumbag, Numero 7b
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
Yes, sterilize yourself, they said, and everything's hunky-dory.
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 more details go here.
You can watch a short video of Peggy telling her story here.
Your Scumbag, Numero 8-O
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
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
With the assistance of MoveOn.org, 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
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 thinkprogress.org. I doubt they really mind.)
Your Scumbag, Numero 9-O
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
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:
to Raging Pencils
Your Scumbag, Numero Ten-O
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
Oops! Make that eight transplants as the sculpture cost $3.8 million
For more disgusting details on Humana's business practices read the whole
story at Huffpo.com.