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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Centene Corp, Molina Healthcare, UnitedHealthGroup, Cigna Corp and HCA Healthcare

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – May 14, 2021 – announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Centene Corporation (CNC - Free Report) , Molina Healthcare, Inc. (MOH - Free Report) , UnitedHealthGroup Inc. (UNH - Free Report) , Cigna Corporation (CI - Free Report) and HCA Healthcare, Inc. (HCA - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

Health Insurers to Gain from Open Enrollment Expansion

The Special Enrollment period on has seen one million Americans buy an insurance cover. This window of opportunity was opened to the public on Feb 15, 2021 for purchasing subsidized health policies and the offer was available until May 15. The same is now further extended through Aug 15.

The Biden administration provided the Special Enrollment period this year. This is to allow people to sign up or change their health insurance plan outside of the annual open enrollment.

Annual enrollment period runs from Nov 1 through Dec 15. During this period, people can enroll in a health insurance program, which becomes effective Jan 1 of the following year.

Biden Backs ACA

The widening of the Special Enrollment window resonates with Biden’s bent on making healthcare accessible widely. Biden during his campaigning days showed support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and now his actions are echoing his words.

The COVID-stricken environment caused massive job losses and higher healthcare coverage. This facility will help the needy buy health insurance at a low cost. The platform has a number of health insurers offering different kinds of plans. This provides a plethora of choices for the buyers to decide on the most suitable plan from the online health insurance marketplace.

This special window is one of the key strategies that the Biden regime prudently adopted. This expansion is one of the ways in which the Biden administration is supporting Americans via the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. It reduces the plan cost and increases the number of Americans who can be eligible for the affordable plan.

The government continues to invest in marketplace business. It announced an additional $80 million for navigators to boost enrollment. (Navigators help Americans understand their health insurance options, connecting consumers with financial help and aid them in enrolling in Marketplace plans, Medicaid or Children Health Insurance Plans.)

The website is also known as the federal healthcare exchange. Insurers like to call it a marketplace.

New Members to Aid Health Insurers’ Growth

Companies with a wide presence in the marketplace will be gained from the influx of new members. Higher enrollment rate will translate into top-line growth for health insurers.
For companies selling individual healthcare Medicaid plans online, 2021 may be one of the best selling years. Even during the coronavirus pandemic, the individual market remained stable and participating insurers continued to put up an impressive show on the financial front.

These Companies to Gain Maximum

Centene Corp. has the widest reach on the online health insurance exchanges. Its marketplace business has grown over the years. The company expects higher-than-anticipated membership in its marketplace business from the special enrollment period.

Centene via its WellCare Health buyout became the largest Medicaid managed care organization in the country. It is a clear leader in new enrollment on the federal exchange. With the onset of this year, it has seen more than 320,000 members enrolling in its marketplace product to date. Marketplace should be a long-term catalyst for Centene. Centene carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) at present.

Molina Healthcare raised its revenue projection for 2021. It expects premium revenues to be more than $24 billion, indicating 31% growth from the year-ago reported figure. This also marks a $1-billion increase from its previous guidance. This upward revision came from the benefit expected from the expansion of the public health emergency period.

Molina has grown its Medicaid business over the years. Last month, management announced that the company will buy Cigna’s Texas Medicaid and Medicare-Medicaid Plan (MMP) contracts.

Molina carries a Zacks Rank of 3, currently. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Other companies having presence on the online exchanges such as UnitedHealthGroup and Cigna Corp. also stands to benefit from this extension but to a lesser degree. Additionally, the hospital company HCA Healthcare will likely see a decline in uncompensated care with an increase in health coverage.


There is still plenty of time left to sign up. If the current surge in enrollment traffic continues, more plans are expected to be sold ahead. The political, legislative and regulatory trends bode well for the health insurance industry in the long haul.

Biden’s other health-care-related ideas, such as lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60 from 65 and making the subsidies on offer permanent for the time being will expand the health coverage net. More people with insurance will mean more business for health insurers.

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