Health Insurers Continue To Rally After High Court Hearings
Certain segments of the health care marketplace appeared to be optimistic about signals from the court's consideration of the individual mandate and the sweeping health law.
Market Watch: Insurers Continue To Rally In Wake Of Hearings
Health insurers continued to rally Friday as the U.S. Supreme Court was set to deliberate behind closed doors over whether parts of the Affordable Care Act are constitutional. Insurers were further boosted by a Jefferies & Co. note that said if the court additionally ruled to overturn a part of the health-reform law that ordered states to expand their Medicaid programs — with federal assistance — it probably wouldn't have long-lasting effects on insurers with a heavy Medicaid portfolio (Britt, 3/30).
Reuters: Analysis: HMO Investors Breathe Easier About Health Law Ruling
Now that the Supreme Court has given a glimpse of how it will consider the healthcare overhaul, more investors in health insurance stocks are breathing easier about the eventual ruling. Wall Street is less worried about the worst-case scenario for insurers: that the court strikes down the individual mandate requiring people buy insurance, but keeps in place provisions that could force insurers to cover more sick, high-cost Americans. Investors also increasingly believe the whole law may be tossed out, analysts said, which could boost health insurer stocks in the near term. Several analysts pointed to UnitedHealth Group as a stock that should do well regardless of the ruling, while Aetna Inc has been a strong performer this week (Krauskopf, 3/30).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Analysts Don't Predict Doomsday For Insurers
Within the debate over the law that overhauls the U.S. health care system, speculation swirls about a doomsday scenario for the health insurance industry…. Those fearing such a scenario say it would cripple the health insurance industry. But few, if any, financial analysts or health economists share the same level of concern."It's not like an apocalyptic disaster," said Chuck Phelps, a retired professor of health economics at the University of Rochester. "The people harmed are not the insurance companies. The people harmed are relatively healthy people who want to buy individual policies. They won't be able to" (Spencer, 4/1).