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September 02, 2015

Calif. Audit Finds $24-Million Jump in Blue Shield Exec Pay

Nonprofit health insurer Blue Shield of California raised executive compensation by $24 million in 2012, a 64-percent boost from the previous year, the Los Angeles Times writes, citing a confidential state audit. Most of the increase went to outgoing Chief Executive Bruce Bodaken, who received about $20 million as part of his retirement package in 2012, according to Michael Johnson, Blue Shield's former director of public policy and now a company critic.

The state's third-largest health-insurance provider is fighting a decision last year by the California Franchise Tax Board to revoke its tax-exempt status. The audit, conducted by the board, tallied $61 million in pay for some 60 executives in 2012, apparently including Mr. Bodaken and several other top officials who left that year.

Blue Shield would not specify which executives received the higher pay, but company spokesman Steve Shivinsky called it a "one-time increase" that effected a large number of officials and encompassed "severance, pension, deferred compensation, accrued vacation, merit increases, incentive pay, benefits, and relocation-expense reimbursement."