BOSTON (CBS) – An $11 million golden parachute was given to the former CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts after he left his post.

Cleve Killingsworth negotiated that massive severance deal when he stepped down last March after Blue Cross reported nearly $150 million in losses.

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A Blue Cross spokesman said Killingsworth’s compensation was part of a contract worked out in 2005.

Jay McQuaide, Senior Vice President of Blue Cross Blue Shield, says this kind of salary and severance is part of the past. McQuaide says, “We recognize this is a significant level of compensation. It was part of a contract that was agreed to in 2005, and the compensation for our new CEO is significantly less and reflective of where the communities interests and concerns are today with regard to executive compensation.”

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports.

Eric Michelson, the owner of Michelson’s Shoes in Lexington, is sick hearing about Killingsworth’s severance deal.

Michelson says, “The number is staggering. I can’t even comprehend it. We’re here trying to keep our employees… healthy by giving them health care, keep our customers happy, and I wish I could even comprehend the size of that profit.”

Michelson used to provide his employees with Blue Cross, but he says last year he had to change insurers because the premiums were skyrocketing. He asks, “Isn’t Blue Cross Blue Shield a nonprofit? Aren’t they supposed be working really hard to give us, the people looking for health insurance the best possible rates?”

McQuaide says Blue Cross is a non profit, but also a $13 billion dollar. “Like any business we compete for business, we compete for leadership for CEO and senior executives… and we feel strongly in the need to pay market competitive compensation in order to recruit and retain high performing leaders to run a company of our size and scope.”

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson contributed to this report.

Comments (8)
  1. Pat says:

    I wonder why this country is going backwards? I pay almost 2400 dollars a month in health insurance and it doesn’t even cover me 100%. Why is this guy making so much money and everyone else is going broke? Why isn’t our government stepping in and fixing problems like this?

  2. Union Worker says:

    Let me understand they need to pay big money for their management yet they fired this guy after they lost 150 million does that include his 11mil I think you can get good management for a little less but what do i know

  3. emom says:

    OH THIS IS SO RICH<< it wasnt so long ago that some felt the insurance company was doing us a favor,, that it was the doctors that was taking from us and causing our premiums to go up,, WELL I TOLD YOU SO,,, these upper managedment has been taking your premiums for decades, and this guy knew it, He wrote out this deal for a contract on the behalf of all your premiums, He knew walking into this job that he could get this salary from what you all put into the company.. OH the thought you where benifitng from what you paid into it,,, Nope you had to fight to get bills paid, you had to suffer and pay higher bills, they lied to you about what was covered and so much more, ahhhh its now that you see what the insurance companies really are all about and what and where your money goes, It has been going on for way to long and I know ,, seen it from the other side, BUT HEY good luck and carry on

  4. Rob Benson says:

    Another disturbing factor is the board of directors of this non-profit are being paid. I’m sorry but non-profit should be a non paying job..there all in bed with each other..and we the tax payer..touch your toes…

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