News & Events

Tufts Health to review board pay

View Boston Herald story here

By Laura Crimaldi

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Tufts Health Plan said today its board of directors is scheduling a meeting to review its compensation as pressure from Attorney General Martha Coakley mounts in the wake of a $11 million severance for the former Blue Cross Blue Shield honcho.

Tufts paid its 12-member board nearly $300,000 last year, records show.

Tufts made the announcement a day after the Blue Cross board suspended its pay indefinitely because of public outcry over its decision to approve an $11 million payout to former president and CEO Cleve L. Killingsworth. He resigned after the company lost $149 million in 2009.

Coakley is calling on all the state’s non-profit insurers to reconsider this practice.

“Tufts Health Plan offers our board members reasonable compensation in recognition of their time and effort they offer this organization,” the Watertown-based health insurer said in a statement. “While our decisions are made thoughtfully, at this time, given the position of the Attorney General, we are evaluating our practices.”

The board of directors is expected to meet in the next two weeks, said Tufts spokeswoman Patti Embry-Tautenhan. She added board member Thomas P. O’Neill III, who runs a lobbying firm, is requesting his director pay be donated to Boston Health Care for the Homeless “until this issue is resolved.” He was paid $26,000 last year.

The insurer said its compensation is based on a “careful market analysis of other non-profit insurers’ compensation of board members and recommendations by a third party advisor specializing in these issues.”

The company also said it does not compensate directors with discounted health coverage and has “stringent” conflict-of-interest policies.

Blue Cross paid its directors $1.2 million last year. President and CEO Andrew C. Dreyfus said directors will be paid for the first quarter of 2011. He added directors who are also compensated with health insurance will keep that perk until the end of the year.

Spokeswomen for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Fallon Community Health Plan did not immediately return messages seeking comment.