Lieberman Statement Sends Health Insurance Stocks Up

Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Joe Liberman, the senator from Aetna

Holiday treats came early this year for the health insurance industry—not from Santa Claus but from U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT). The stock prices of major insurers rose on Monday after Lieberman threatened to join Republicans and delay consideration of healthcare reform legislation until the New Year. Lieberman said he opposes a plan to allow Americans aged 55 and older to buy into Medicare coverage.

Market analysts said there has been a correlation this year between the value of health insurance shares and the chance of reform being adopted by Congress. “Every time the reform seems less likely that it will happen, the entire group trades higher,” Wells Fargo Securities analyst Matthew Perry told the Dow Jones Newswire.
At the end of trading on Monday, Wellcare Health Plans Inc. was up 1.3% to $36.74 and Humana Inc. 1% to $42.26. Other companies doing well recently include Aetna (2.7% to $32.65), Cigna Corp. (2.3% to $36.41), Well Point Inc. (2.7% to $58.07) and UnitedHealth Group Inc. (1.6% to $30.99).
Critics of Lieberman point to his campaign contributions and family ties for his opposition to the Democratic reforms. He has accepted more than $110,000 from Aetna in 2009, according to the Los Angeles Examiner, and his wife has been an employee of Hill & Knowlton, a firm that lobbies on behalf of the healthcare industry.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Managed-Care Cos Rise as Lieberman Opposes Medicare Buy-In (by Aja Carmichael, Dow Jones Newswires)


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