Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island’s new president and CEO will get paid $600,000 a year starting out, WPRI.com has learned.
Blue Cross Rhode Island – one of the most dominant health insurers in the country – announced Tuesday that Peter Andruszkiewicz, the president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan in Georgia, will take over from James Purcell as the nonprofit’s top executive late next month.
Andruszkiewicz will receive a base salary of $600,000, Blue Cross spokeswoman Kim Reingold said in an e-mail. That amount “is slightly less than that of our current CEO and less than other regional, midsize Blue Cross & Blue Shield plans,” she said.
The total size of Andruszkiewicz’s compensation package would be higher if the value of benefits and other perks were included.
Andruszkiewicz’s $600,000 salary is $100,000 more than the half-million dollars Purcell got starting out in 2005, his first full year as Blue Cross’ permanent CEO. Purcell’s predecessor, Ronald Battista, was earning a salary of $546,500 annually before he resigned in controversy in May 2004.
Blue Cross Rhode Island insures roughly 600,000 Rhode Islanders and employs more than 1,000 people. The insurer says it lost $14 million in 2010 and $100 million in 2009.
Andrew Dreyfus, who took over as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts’ CEO last year, earns an $800,000 base salary – an amount he described last month as “rock-bottom-of-the-market” compensation.
“I will be one of the lowest paid Blue Cross executives in the country,” Dreyfus told Statehouse News Service – which implies that Andruszkiewicz’s $600,000 places him even closer to the bottom of the list.
Blue Cross of Massachusetts has come under fire for its compensation practices in recent months after revelations that it gave an $11 million golden parachute to ex-CEO Cleve Killingsworth, who left in 2010, and provided five-figure annual payments to its board members. The board suspended its own pay last month under pressure from Attorney General Martha Coakley.
Blue Cross of Rhode Island does not compensate its 17 board members, unlike its Bay State counterpart, a spokeswoman told WPRI.com last month.