Health Care Stocks Down

By Britt

Oct 13, 2009 5:31pm

Health insurance stocks took a dive Tuesday, with the S&P Health Care Sector index becoming the worst-performing segment of the S&P 500, largely because of health insurance companies.

 The followed a public declaration of war by the health insurance industry's lobbying arm against the White House's health care reform efforts.

America's Health Insurance Plans, or AHIP, released a methodologically questionable study on Sunday  claiming that the Senate Finance Committee bill would result in higher premiums for families.

Aetna started the day trading at 26.38 per share, went down -3.1% and closed at 25.59.

Cigna started the day at 29.57; went down -3.14% and closed at 28.71.  

UnitedHealth Group Inc. opened at 25.17, went down -3.73% and closed at 24.31.

Interestingly, after a majority of members of the Senate Finance Committee voted for the health care reform legislation offered by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., many of those stocks started to creep back up. The Baucus bill does not contain a government-run health care option to compete with private insurers – an option AHIP and its members oppose.

AHIP is now running TV ads against the effort in many states, as ABC News' Teddy Davis takes a look at HERE.

"Is it right to ask 10 million seniors on Medicare Advantage for more than their fair share?" asks the ad's narrator. "Congress is proposing more than $100 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says many seniors will see cuts in benefits."


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