Kaiser ratings affirmed at 'AA-' ahead of Geisinger acquisition: Fitch

Fitch Ratings affirmed "AA-" ratings for Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente's issuer default rating as well as revenue bonds issued by or on behalf of Kaiser by the California Health Facilities Financing Authority and the California Statewide Communities Development Authority.

Four things to know:

1. Kaiser's "AA-" rating is driven by a strong financial profile, which is maintained despite last year's challenging operating environment, according to Fitch. The system has very strong absolute levels of net adjusted debt (cash and investments in excess of debt and debt equivalents). 

2. Kaiser is the most fully integrated health system in the U.S., according to Fitch, and the rating is supported by its market lead in California and broad reach among several states.

3. In April, Kaiser announced the launch of Risant Health, which will be used to leverage Kaiser's experience in population health and total cost of care to new markets. Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger is expected to be acquired by Risant, pending regulatory approval. 

4. Kaiser is the market leader for both commercial health insurance membership and hospital operations in California, which represents about 75 percent of Kaiser's membership, according to Fitch. California represents about 75 percent of Kaiser's membership. 

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