Questcor's (QCOR -38.5%) weakness a buying opportunity , says Leerink Swann. The firm says it's confirmed with Aetna (AET -0.3%) that Acthar is reimbursed as a second tier drug, and Acthar sales are still seeing more prescriptions written.
Questcor (QCOR -34.5%) is getting hammered this morning on another negative report from Citron Research. Citron is saying that Aetna (AET -0.5%) has dropped almost all coverage of QCOR's drug Achtar for treating multiple sclerosis and nephrotic symdrome, saying that studies found no proof of efficacy to substantiate reimbursement. It will, however, continue to provide reimbursement when treating infantile spasms.
Shares of Humana (HUM -13%) get slammed this morning, a day after the managed-care provider missed the mark on Q2 earnings and cut its profit outlook for the year. The dismal report is taking down more than one insurer that otherwise might have had an up day: Aetna (AET -1.9%), WellPoint (WLP -3.5%), UnitedHealth (UNH -3%).
Aetna (AET +2.7%) authorizes an additional $750M to its buyback program, in addition to the approximately $248M of repurchase authority currently available under it's existing authorization as of June 30. The company intends to continue buying shares in the open market as necessary. AET has been active over the past quarter, having had approximately $828M of repurchase authority still left available as of March 31.
Health insurers take a pummeling after Wellpoint's (WLP -12%) miserable Q2 report, even though some analysts say that the company has specific challenges. Citigroup's Carl McDonald reckons management could come under pressure. Still, HealthNet (HNT) -10%, UnitedHealth (UNH) -5.6%, Coventry (CVH) -4.9%, Humana (HUM) -3%, Cigna (CI) -3.9% and Aetna (AET) -4.9%.
Following a brief rebound at the open today, health insurance stocks resume their downward trajectory on the back of yesterday's Supreme Court decision: UnitedHealth (UNH -2.5%), WellPoint (WLP -3.2%), Aetna (AET -3%), HealthNet (HNT -0.7%) and Coventry Health Care (CVH -2%).
Wells Fargo is saying to buy managed care names on the back of the Supreme Court decision. The firm notes that the decision removes a big overhang in the sector and is actually a positive over the long term. Top names it recommends buying: Aetna (AET -4%), Coventry Health (CVH -3.6%), Humana (HUM -3.2%) and UnitedHealth (UNH -3.6%).
Centene (CNC) +11.1% premarket after receiving notification from Ohio that it will be awarded a Medicaid contract in the state in 2013. The reversal of an earlier decision is vital for Centene and Molina (MOH +19.3%), which received similar news, since both health care providers have large presences in Ohio. Aetna (AET) was dropped from Ohio's list of Medicaid plans that will serve starting Jan. 1.
Sequenom (SQNM) says the recently announced provider network participation agreement with Coventry Health Care (CVH) has been terminated without cause by Coventry. The agreement was intended to provide members in the network with coverage for Sequenom CMM's MaterniT21 PLUS laboratory-developed test. SQNM -7.8% AH.
Humana (HUM -2.5%) slips after Goldman downgraded the stock to Neutral this morning due to margin concerns and risk of lower funding levels under health reform. The firm sees better upside potential in Health Net (HNT -2.5%), Coventry (CVH -1.4%) and WellCare (WCG -1.2%).
Coventry Health Care (CVH -8%) is one of the day's top losers, as a high-cost Medicaid issue in Kentucky overshadowed Q1 results and the insurer lowered full-year guidance. Susquehanna calls disclosures around the full-year outlook "ambiguous," saying it was "disappointed with how management handled the significant guidance reduction."
Aetna (AET -10.9%) shares plunge at the open after Q1 earnings reveal a lack of surplus money set aside to cover expected patient claims from earlier periods. “The elephant in the room is the lack of prior-period development,” a Leerink Swann analyst says. “We’ve seen consistently for the entire industry that the medical-cost trend has come in below expectations, and it’s unclear why Aetna would be different.”
Aetna Inc. is a health care benefit company, which offers traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans.