3 Healthcare Stocks Welcome Boost From Obamacare

Includes: CERN, HMSY, RCM
by: Biz Bluetree

For the investor who may want a crack at making money with Obamacare this short list of quick picks may help.

Most people, this writer included, do not even understand how the new Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, works or what exactly it provides except that it's 2,000 pages long, has Democrats and Republicans gouging each other's eyes out, and that if individuals do not purchase it or some other form of health insurance they will be penalized.

So, with all its pomp and circumstance, and confusion, Obamacare is here to stay -- at least until another election provides an opportunity for one political party to replace the other with a majority of votes against it. Simple.

So which companies are positioned for a potential boost from the new reality?

In the healthcare IT sector, HMS Holdings (NASDAQ:HMSY) seems well positioned as a government watchdog of sorts that will most likely play an important role in the billing management of Obamacare once it's in full swing.

HMS butters its bread by earning percentages of mistakes it finds in the billing process. Medicaid and Medicare are two of its major clients. With both of those programs becoming more complicated, creating a greater potential for fraud, HMS Holdings' opportunity to cash in will grow.

And HMS is just getting started. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates nearly $65 billion in improper Medicare and Medicaid payments have been made, and only $4.2 billion of that was found and recovered. The new reality needs HMS Holdings to do some deeper digging.

HMS is trading today at $20.94 at time of writing, which is $12 and change below its 52-week high of $33.20. It currently shows a market cap of $1.87 billion, has 87.81 million shares outstanding, and is experiencing income growth of 5.70% with total income over the last 12 months of $47.87 million. The company has just announced that Modern Healthcare Magazine named it "One of Healthcare's Hottest for 2013."

Cerner Corporation (NASDAQ:CERN), though not a household name is one of the medical technology companies well informed investors think of first. Cerner is the largest in its business segment, has a market cap of $16.65 billion with 347.11 million shares outstanding.

The company is trading today at $53.67 at time of this writing, just below its 52-week high of $55.07. Cerner shows $433.64 million in income over the last 12 months and is enjoying growth over that period of 29.50%.

Cerner's earnings and revenues have proved reliable over time, making it an investor favorite. The company now has an opportunity to enhance its investor appeal as its size alone will allow it to muscle its way into new markets on this ever-changing healthcare landscape.

Accretive Health (AH) is the nation's largest hospital billing and collections management company whose industry sector one can assume will grow in the new healthcare climate. But it should be noted that the company has to get past its problems with the SEC for errant financial reporting in its first 9 quarters since inception, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Though the company has just obtained a New York Stock Exchange Listing Extension it has been announced by the Law Offices of Howard G. Smith that the firm is investigating the company on behalf of long-time shareholders.

A unique and interesting aspect of the operation is a data-driven computer system that reportedly keeps track of patients' existing health conditions, which some theorize can tip off patients before a condition becomes serious, thus cutting down on visits to the emergency room, keeping costs in closer control. This writer does not see that as viable. However, the company's business vibrancy should not be undermined.

Accretive has enjoyed $973.64 million in sales over the last 12 months and has grown at a rate of 35.30% over that time, while its income growth for the same period is a robust 131.10%.

The company is trading today at $9.02 on low volume at time of this writing. Its 52-week high is $13.54 against a low of $8.55 with 97.27 million shares outstanding.

Accretive Health looks well poised to benefit from the coming changes in the healthcare system given its unique stance in practice, and accelerating business, but it does seem to have a lot of negatives to overcome. Your due diligence is strongly advised.

None of the stocks mentioned pay a dividend.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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