S&P: Top 10 Questions Regarding Healthcare Providers, Insurers for 2013

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Although Standard & Poor's Ratings Services expects ratings for hospitals, insurers and other healthcare providers to remain stable in 2013, several questions remain at the forefront for those financially invested in the industry.

For hospitals and providers, the biggest question involves their most vulnerable variable: reimbursement.

"The key factor that could affect ratings over the next two years is reimbursement by government and private payors, who will likely be unable to sustain historical levels of rate increases," according to S&P's report. "We expect that many rated service providers will continue to supplement low single-digit organic growth with opportunistic acquisitions — especially of smaller providers facing difficulty operating under tighter regulation and prospectively lower reimbursement."

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Here are the top 10 investor questions for the U.S. healthcare sector heading into 2013, based on S&P's report.

1. Will healthcare providers benefit from the PPACA?

2. What is the credit outlook for non-profit hospitals?

3. What is the ratings outlook for for-profit hospitals?

4. Will sequestration affect ratings?

5. What are the key implications of the recent election on health insurers?

6. Now that the Supreme Court ruling and national election have passed, what other key rating considerations are there for the health insurance sector?

7. How will the PPACA and long-term U.S. fiscal considerations affect Medicare Advantage insurers?

8. What are the key challenges facing nursing home companies in 2013?

9. How will Medicare reimbursement reductions affect the credit of radiation/oncology providers?

10. What will be the impact of a second round of competitive bidding on respiratory and home medical equipment service companies?

For complete analysis or to purchase the report, click here.

More Articles on Standard & Poor's Financial Reports:

S&P Downgrades West Penn Bonds to "CC"

S&P: Hospital Revenue Growth Rate From Payors at 7-Year Low

Sifting Through the Data: 5 Things to Decipher From S&P's 2011 Hospital Medians

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