Coakley cracks down on nonprofit cash

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Not-for-profit board members may no longer be able to collect compensation for their volunteerism.   

Announcing the results of an investigation into compensation of board members of four major charitable health insurers on Thursday, Attorney General Martha Coakley also announced the filing of a bill forcing compensation to nonprofit boards to be approved by her office.

“In other words, unless we approve compensation it would not be allowed in Massachusetts,” Coakley said. “The default position is you shouldn’t be compensated.”

Of the four companies investigated — Blue Cross Blue Shield, Fallon Community Health Plan, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan — the first two voluntarily stopped paying board members while the latter dug their heels in.

The companies have argued that their work is “unique” and “complex” since they compete against private insurers.

“They have not justified they are unique or complex in any other way than any not-for-profit in Massachusetts,” Coakley said.

State Rep. Martha Walz said serving on a board of directors is prestigious in its own right.

“In many ways I regret this legislation is necessary,” she said.


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