Humana falls after CMS proposes 2014 MA rates, peers follow

Humana (HUM) disclosed today that on Friday, February 15, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced preliminary 2014 Medicare Advantage benchmark payment rates. CMS has invited public comment on these preliminary rates before releasing final rates on April 1. Humana believes the preliminary base rates included in the CMS notice would result in a mid-single-digit decline in its benchmark payment rates. Humana said it is analyzing all operational avenues available to address the preliminary rates and related impact upon the company's ability to grow both its Medicare membership and its earnings for 2014. Humana noted its management previously expressed confidence in the company’s ability to grow both Medicare membership and earnings for 2014, based upon expectations that the base Medicare Advantage payment rate would be flat to slightly down. Shares of Humana (HUM) are down 10%, or $8.00, to $69.99 in pre-market trading. Other healthcare names are trading lower after the CMS proposed 2014 Medicare Advantage rates, including WellCare (WCG), UnitedHealth (UNH), Cigna (CI), Wellpoint (WLP), Aetna (AET), Molina (MOH), and DaVita (DVA).