Health Insurer Winners & Losers: Cigna

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- During a trading session that saw President Obama sign historic health-care reform into the books, shares of health-insurance providers were retreating, albeit slightly, on Tuesday afternoon.
Obama
President Obama

"Today, after over a year of debate, today, after all the votes have been tallied, health insurance becomes law in America," Obama said to loud applause at the White House.

Shortly before the signing, Obama reiterated the fiscal soundness of the $938 billion bill, while saying that it would take ten years to implement fully and soundly. However, the near-term benefits of the plan "happens this year," he said, making references to tax credits for small businesses to help them with their employees' health coverage, and full coverage for tens of thousands of uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions. Obama also said seniors would receive money to help pay for prescriptions.

The Senate still has a last round of adjustments to make on the plan, but, Obama said, "These are improvements I am confident they will make swiftly."

Health insurer stocks, which have largely outperformed the S&P 500 over the last 12 months as the reform bill was hotly debated, were mostly weaker following the official signing.

Cigna ( CI) shares were down 1.1% to $36.90, having soared some 97% over the last 12 months.

Shares of Humana ( HUM), which have climbed 92% since the same time a year ago, slipped 0.9% Tuesday to $48.90.

Health Net ( HNT) stock was falling 1.1% Tuesday to $25.50. Its shares have risen 63.6% over the last year.

UnitedHealth ( UNH) shares were basically flat, trading lower by 0.1% to $33.30. For the year, the stock has posted a gain of 51%.

Aetna ( AET) stock was edging slightly higher to $34.80, up 0.4%; over the last 12 months, it's risen about 43%.

Elsewhere, HealthSpring ( HS) (up 119% for the year) was shedding 2% to $18.30 Tuesday, and Coventry Health Care ( CVH) (up nearly double from a year ago) was falling 1.6% to $25.70.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York

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