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The Dirty Little Secret About CEO Benefits

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's no secret that CEOs at major companies and other C-level executives get a sweet deal, from seven-figure salaries to stock options and hefty bonuses. For most of us, it's a career level we can only dream about. But the perks don't stop there. Many times, the total compensation for CEOs and other "head honchos" goes beyond luxurious and into the ridiculous. Of course, they've earned it -- right?

Here's a look at six of the most extravagant executive benefits being offered today.

1. Health plans that cover 100% of out-of-pocket costs

"For equity's sake, a company has to offer the same health plan to all employees, but instead of paying 80% of medical expenses, they'll pay 100% for the CEO, reimbursing them for all out-of-pocket expenses," says Katie Bouton, CEO and founder of Koya Leadership Partners, a national executive search firm for nonprofit companies.

For most companies, it's not about offering the CEO a package that's "better than lower-level employees," it's about offering something enticing that's more of a "lifestyle compensation package," Bouton says.

With large public companies, it's also about having a healthy executive at the helm, says Charley Polachi, managing partner at Polachi Access Executive Search.

"The loss of a CEO could have a significant negative impact on a company's business, so it benefits a company to provide top-tier benefits to the executive and their family," Polachi says. "Many times CEOs will have a required annual physical, complete with stress test and MRI. A company could be seriously damaged if they lost someone to an illness that hadn't been predicted."

2. A down payment on a home, relocation and rent

For CEOs moving to take a job in another country or city, relocation costs for the whole family -- including air fare and everything from masking tape to boxes -- will be included, Bouton says.

In some cases, Realtor fees or even a subsidized down payment on a house are covered.

"This is something we've seen more of in the last five years due to the housing market being tougher for people looking to sell," Bouton says. "Many companies will pay Realtor fees or even a partial down payment on a house for a CEO who is making the commitment to move across country or to another part of the world."

For CEOs who don't want to make a snap decision on a home, Polachi says many relocation packages will cover temporary apartments until a decision is made.

"In many cases temporary housing or a corporate apartment just makes more sense than having them stay in a Holiday Inn," he says.

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