NEW YORK (AP) – Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services on Wednesday raised its credit outlook on health insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc. to “positive” from “stable,” saying the company’s financial position has improved compared with its competitors’.
The new outlook means Standard & Poor’s could raise its rating on UnitedHealth in the next year or two. Analyst Joseph Marinucci currently rates the company’s credit at `A-,’ four notches above noninvestment grade or “junk” status. He said UnitedHealth has performed well during a difficult period for health insurers.
“The consolidated UnitedHealth Group has a very strong business profile, strong earnings and cash flow, and very strong financial flexibility,” Marinucci wrote.
The Minnetonka, Minn., company is the largest health insurer based on revenue and second only to WellPoint Inc. in enrollment. Its shares rose $1.47, or 3.2 percent, to $47.18 in afternoon trading.
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