Health insurance ratings agency A.M. Best Co. held its negative outlook for the sector as high unemployment in 2009 squeezed private health coverage and enrollment in publicly subsidized managed-care plans increased. In a new report, A.M. Best analysts said commercial enrollment among publicly traded insurers dropped by 2.3% or 2.3 million members, through the first nine months of 2009 and no overall reversal is expected “until employers start hiring.”
A.M. Best keeps negative outlook for insurers
Meanwhile, Medicaid managed-care enrollment and private insurance subsidized for laid-off workers under the economic stimulus act increased, according to the report. Stress on state budgets from the weak economy and rising demand for safety net insurance, is expected to make Medicaid rate increase negotiations difficult, the report said. Analysts said lower rate increases are expected to continue for Medicare Advantage plans, which saw enrollment growth wane to 10.4% last year. Insurers' paid off debt and fewer took on new debt in the first nine months of 2009. The sector had five mergers and acquisitions last year compared with 17 the prior year.
What do you think? Post a comment on this article and share your opinion with other readers. Submit your comments to Modern Healthcare Online at [email protected]. Please be sure to include your hometown and state, along with your organization and title.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.