Sector Snap: Health insurer stocks advance

Shares of health insurers advanced Friday ahead of a potential vote on health care legislation that could put to rest the contentious, yearlong debate over reform.

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Congress expects a vote on the bill Sunday. The bill’s goal is to expand health care to 32 million uninsured people and bar the insurance industry from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions. It also aims to trim federal deficits by an about $138 billion over the next decade.

A vote would put an end to the uncertainty over health care reform, which has caused volatility for insurers over the last year.

Aetna Inc. shares gained $1.17, or 3.5 percent, to $34.41 in afternoon trading, after the insurer said it expects to beat Wall Street’s expectations for the first quarter.

Meanwhile, shares of Cigna Corp. rose $1.14, or 3.2 percent, to $36.98. Shares of Coventry Health Care Inc. rose 61 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $26.40. Shares of Unitedhealth Group Inc. [Read the full article]

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