How the other half lives

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) today has a very interesting story about how company executives have their COBRA paid for when they leave a company.

“…losing a job doesn’t mean losing health-care for many corporate
executives: Their former employers are on the hook for the coverage, sometimes
for years to follow.”

According to Ron Pollock, executive director of the national health advocacy organization Families USA, only 20 percent of us normal folk actually pay for COBRA when we leave a job.

Here are some of the executives whose health care subsidies were exposed:

  • Blockbuster Inc. (the video rental chain) would have to pay $27,202 in medical and dental coverage for 36 months if it fires its executive vice president for strategic planning and business development.
  • Charles Schwab Corp. would pay its founder’s healthcare costs (a pricetag of $32,561 for 36 months) if he is fired without just cause.
  • Insurer, Safeco, is paying $15,000 in COBRA costs for its former chief operating officer

It’s this same tier of executives (who have a health care parachute) that cries bloody murder when anyone suggests giving their rank and file workers a fraction of the deal they get. Absolutely insulting.

(If you don’t have a WSJ subscription, I’d be happy to email you the story if you shoot me a message at

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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