S&P’s Report Says U.S. Health Market Physically Fit

September 6, 2002

The willingness of consumers to absorb escalating medical costs, combined with reduced competition, underlies the continued operating strength of health insurers in the coming quarters, Standard & Poor’s said in a report issued Sept. 5.

“There is a chain of cost increases that begins with a beefed-up hospital provider industry now exacting higher reimbursements from insurers. The insurers in turn charge employers higher premium rates, which are then passed on to the employees. In the current environment, none of these elements is a weak link in maintaining health care financing,” Standard & Poor’s Director Jack Reichman said.

In an article titled “Industry Report Card: North American Health Care Insurance Companies,” Standard & Poor’s has listed the ratings on more than 40 North American health care companies and summarized the factors that contribute to each rating. The rating also includes recent rating actions that significantly affect the standing of certain companies in the industry.

At its Third Annual Health Care Credit Seminar in New York City, Standard & Poor’s analysts will be joined by leading industry experts to discuss issues as they bear on credit quality for the entire health care industry. The event will begin at 8 a.m. on Sept. 12, at the McGraw-Hill building at 1221 Avenue of the Americas, in the second-floor auditorium.

The report can be found on RatingsDirect, Standard & Poor’s Web-based credit analysis system. The article can also be found on Standard & Poor’s Web site at standardandpoors.com; select Forum, then Insurance, then Health Care.

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