West Side Execs Earn Higher Pay

Health insurance executives in Eastern Washington earn considerably less than their counterparts on the West Side of the state, according to figures released Friday by Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn.

Dr. Henry Berman, chief executive officer of Group Health Northwest, earned $244,410 in 1996. He received $295,000 in 1995, when his compensation package was boosted by a $60,500 bonus.

By comparison, the head of Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound was paid $466,500 in 1996, up from $453,400 the prior year.

The cooperative is the parent of Group Health Northwest.

A spokesman said the pay of president Dr. Phil Nudelman reflects his responsibilities for all 709,000 Group Health enrollees, more than two-thirds of whom live in the Puget Sound area.

Group Health, he noted, has a $1 billion budget and insures one of 11 Washington residents.

As a group, the three top officials at Group Health Northwest were paid a total $579,374 in 1996, down from $622,873 in 1995.

At Medical Service Corp., President Henry Keaton earned $192,500 in 1996, his first full year at the nonprofit organization.

His predecessor, Fred Jacot, drew a $229,000 salary in 1995, but also left with a $1.3 million lump-sum retirement package.

Excluding Jacot’s compensation, the three top executives at MSC, including Keaton, earned a combined $536,770 in 1996, up from $410,957 in 1995.

MSC is a subsidiary of Premera, which is also the holding company for Blue Cross of Washington and Alaska. Blue Cross Chief Executive Officer Betty Woods attracted a lot of attention last year, when her pay swelled more than 50 percent as she battled with Senn over a proposed 17.3 percent rate increase.

For 1996, Woods’ pay fell to $482,000, below the $742,111 in 1995 and $487,000 in 1994.

Friday, Senn announced a settlement of the rate dispute that rolled the increase back to 11.4 percent.

Senn said there was no correlation between the reduction and the reduced compensation for Woods.

, DataTimes

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