Obamacare's 3 Biggest Winners of 2013

A huge website fiasco. Disappointing enrollment numbers. Delay after delay.

You might think it would be hard to find winners from Obamacare over the past year. That's not the case at all, though. Several companies experienced tremendous gains in 2013 thanks in no small part to the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Here are three of Obamacare's biggest winners.

1. eHealth (NASDAQ: EHTH  )
For nearly seven months in 2013, shares of online health insurance company eHealth languished below the stock's starting point for the year. That quickly changed in late July, though. 

On July 31, eHealth announced that it entered into an agreement with the federal government to help enroll individuals in insurance plans approved for the Obamacare exchange used by 36 states. The deal allowed eHealth to access the federal electronic data hub, which helps determine an individual's eligibility for subsidies and calculate the subsidy amount, if applicable.

The news sent eHealth shares soaring -- and ultimately helped propel the stock to a year-to-date gain of nearly 70%. This impressive climb happened despite the fact that the promised access to the federal electronic data hub still hasn't really materialized. As of late December, the only thing eHealth could claim is a few test enrollments for subsidy-eligible customers, because the federal government still hasn't made a workable solution available to its private partners.

2. CGI Group (NYSE: GIB  )
While plenty of fingers have pointed at information technology consultant CGI Group with the horrible launch of Obamacare's HealthCare.gov website, for most of 2013 the company's stock has pointed upwards. CGI's shares jumped more than 52% this year.

Granted, much of the CGI Group's gains stemmed from sources other than Obamacare. However, a contract worth as much as almost $300 million isn't chump change even for a company racking up yearly revenue topping $9 billion. Around 28% of CGI's total revenue stems from U.S. government contracts.CGI also helped build several state-operated Obamacare exchanges.

Lucrative Obamacare contracts, combined with solid performance in other areas within the company, helped CGI get of to a great start in 2013. However, the stock has muddled along since the Oct. 1 roll-out of the online health insurance exchanges. CGI was hammered publicly by a congressional committee investigating the botched Obamacare implementation in late October, with the company's representative shifting the blame to others -- including the federal government itself.

3. WellPoint (NYSE: WLP  )
No health insurance company has aligned itself with Obamacare as closely as WellPoint. The nation's second-largest health insurer opted to participate in the health insurance exchange for every state where it operated. WellPoint's stock scored huge gains in 2013, climbing 51%.

Did the Obamacare connection help make WellPoint a big winner? Yes -- and no. The company's participation in those state exchanges hasn't made much difference so far. Obamacare enrollment has been far behind projections.

However, another facet of Obamacare has helped WellPoint. As a result of the health reform legislation, several states have expanded their Medicaid programs. Those states include California and New York, both of which happen to be states where WellPoint does business. Medicaid enrollment stands out as one of the few bright spots for Obamacare thus far. WellPoint, with the largest Medicaid membership of any major insurer, is poised to be a big beneficiary.

More winners
Plenty of other companies associated with Obamacare did very well in 2013, also. Eager anticipation of the expected wave of newly insured Americans on the way has pushed hospital stocks way up over the past couple of years. Shares of HCA Holdings (NYSE: HCA  ) , the largest private hospital chain in the U.S., surged 49% over the past 12 months. However, the HealthCare.gov problems appear to have put a damper on HCA's stock since October. 

Walgreen (NYSE: WAG  ) stepped forward as one of the more visible proponents of Obamacare in July. The big pharmacy retailer joined forces with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association on a national campaign to educate Americans about the health reform legislation. Although it's questionable how much real impact Obamacare has made on Walgreen's financial position at this point, there's no question whatsoever that the stock is doing great. Shares are up 51% in 2013.

Will all of these stocks continue to win as a result of Obamacare in 2014? For some, particularly HCA, it depends to a large degree on how many Americans actually enroll. If Obamacare recovers from its shaky start, we could see even more winning stocks. If not, WellPoint could be the best investing option of our big winners from this year as states expand Medicaid. The best way to win is to play where the odds are most in your favor.

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Read/Post Comments (28) | Recommend This Article (16)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2013, at 5:58 PM, joegoldner wrote:

    There are no real winners here when it comes to the American people. Millions losing their coverage and their doctors. Higher prices and higher taxes. Not really good for the economy.

  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2013, at 6:19 PM, MikeY7381 wrote:

    Nobody wins when the country goes bankrupt.

  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2013, at 7:08 PM, juanhunglow wrote:

    other winners poor people, really sick people, and the elderly. any law that hurts more people than it helps is obviously a good thing right?

  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2013, at 7:52 PM, 4mikie wrote:

    You forgot about the insurance industry as a whole, who helped design this monster. I have yet to see them promote PREVENTION-after all, that's the only way to get out from under this sickness/disease /accident monster. Band-aids and life-long "treatments" are very expensive these days, no matter that the whole nation is dividing the (useless, fraudulent, increasing) costs.

  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2013, at 8:13 PM, SSBN620 wrote:

    Is it just me, or does Motley Fool seem to repeatedly take an irrational, inexplicably favorable position in regards to the ACA? You guys don't get out much, do you. I am rethinking my membership.

  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2013, at 9:03 PM, pounds wrote:

    Three biggest winners this makes me sick. affordable health care is about the people not about stocks or company profits, if the insurance companies are making huge profits then the people are getting the bad end of the deal, I always thought this was about Obamas people getting rich. Period!

  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2013, at 9:31 PM, ajohnson2u wrote:

    Okay....

    1. Of course any health insurance company is going to benefit. Nothing was done to regulate their pricing. They have to insure those with pre-existing conditions.....they simply raise premiums on the rest of us. They always win.

    2. CGI Group owned and run by a relative of Michelle Obama was given the whole project without even any bids, which by the way, that site could have been done at less than $10 million and working properly. But they get nearly $700 million and 3 years and it doesn't even work.

    3. Refer to #1

    4. The LAW was made to help ALL American Citizens with LOWER Health Care Costs. Where is this applied anywhere in this list or even in the article? Complete failure, including whoever typed up this nonsense.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 1:08 AM, sypoth wrote:

    Yup, the law only helps the insurance companies, this is exactly what I've been saying! It was a bad idea to let them write the law in the first place. This thing is a train wreck for the people, but getting rid of it would be admitting they were wrong and Liberals would rather put up with their failures rather than admit they were wrong.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 5:59 AM, ernaldo wrote:

    We haven't seen one claim yet, and you media traitors can claim winners of this stupid "law"? The CEOs will certainly benefit, as usual from the taxpayers sweat....

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 7:15 AM, gentlemanjim wrote:

    The really sad part is that some people actually think that their insurance coverage will be better and cheaper with the gubment running it. These people should step back and look at how efficiently the gubment runs anything.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 7:54 AM, JePonce wrote:

    Actually, the three winners are 1) government, 2) government, 3) more government.

    The one loser is the American citizens who 1) pay more for less, 2) give up their choice, 3) give up their freedom to choose.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 8:14 AM, guenavere wrote:

    The insurance companies did not write this law. And anyone who thinks they did are a bunch of dolts. This law was on Obamas agenda from day one when he first got elected. It was passed by every Democrat. It was passed by making deals behind closed doors. Congressmen who would not have ordinarily voted for it were promised all sorts of perks. Obama lied about the law. Not one single congress person has even read the law all the way through so how would insurance companies have time to. And now the insurance companies are being blamed for the bad things that are happening. Well, premiums are being raised in order to meet the mandate of Obamacare. Since when does a 78 year old woman need pre-natal care? And yet I have it in my insurance whether I want it or not. But it is mandated that every woman have it in their insurance. I am not defending insurance companies by all means. I have been dropped three times from plans and it was because of Obamacare. But we need to put the blame where it really belongs. Straignt in every Democrat lap and Obama's.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 8:16 AM, gwsjr425 wrote:

    too bad none of those "winners" are the American people.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 8:40 AM, jimmymae wrote:

    You fail to mention the 30,000,000 bigest loosers whose insurance has been disrupted.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 8:48 AM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    Keith wrote:

    " If Obamacare recovers from its shaky start,.."

    President Obama said over 30 times:

    “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan. If you like your Doctor, you can keep your Doctor.”

    The big lie continues…………

    Why would you believe anything the White House says regarding Obama Care?

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 9:41 AM, yardomd wrote:

    Excellent article. We need more like that. Healthcare is the coming bonanza el dorado for the next 25 years. Aging population is a global challenge, pressing for intelligent solutions. Eat less, walk more is the simple answer. It can realize huge savings, that can be invested wisely. Execution is the real challenge. Need to teach folks how to be rational. Arizona is a good place to start, popular with snowbirds, who are masters at fiscal fitness already. Check out Luxembourg, Monaco, Lichtenstein, with highest wages and best longevity in the World.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 9:49 AM, yardomd wrote:

    Livigno is Italian Alpine village, over the border from St. Moritz, Switzerland. Great value recreational resort, with hundreds of excellent mom and pop hotels and restaurants. Plentiful recreational outdoor family activities. Super venue to study fiscal fitness. Make it a base for field trips to Luxembourg, Monaco and Lichtenstein. Train travel is outstanding. Flights to Geneva are the cheapest flights to Europe.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 11:12 AM, marty27 wrote:

    Of course there are three winners, same three any time government is involved in everything since HW Bush 1) Politicians 2) Big Corporations 3) Government Contractors. They had to list the only people that benefit from this trash, there is a web server in existence that is capable of storing the amount of names that was screwed by this cancerous bill.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 11:30 AM, Widowmaker6 wrote:

    obama is the only winner and he is a loser

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 2:09 PM, vbfg56tg wrote:

    Here are 204 reasons why hypocrite politicians and unions that support Obamacare want exemptions for themselves

    http://danfromsquirrelhill.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/obamacar...

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 2:35 PM, traciadamson wrote:

    Lets be honest... you notice the biggest winners are big conglomerates... where are the human people winners.. the little guys,, the middle class.. Oh Obama tho them to the wolves. How do you think he soddenly became a millionaire... no good old Barry sold out, just like they all do... there are no real winners!

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 2:45 PM, Bildog13 wrote:

    This article is completely wrong in choosing the winners!!!

    The winners in order:

    1.) IRS- gained the power and authority to walk in your private residence WITHOUT a warrant or probable cause to check and see if your following doctors orders and imprison you if you are not following doctors instrctions

    2.) Politicians- gaining another program to use for gaining votes from the welfare people and unemployed liberals that want to collect money without working.

    3.) All the countries that are gaining our doctors that are leaving the country because they refuse to participate in this abortion of a law!!!!

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 4:37 PM, Mark60657 wrote:

    The American people are the biggest losers in Obamacare. Enjoy it – you voted for it.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 8:54 PM, GuyBB wrote:

    The Federal government is insane. Why would I say that? Because they keep doing the same thing, expecting a different result, the very definition of insanity.

    The real problems with the American Health Care system are skyrocketing costs, right? Well, why are they rising at double the rate of inflation?

    The answer is simple. Bureaucracy. There are eight or nine competing layers of bureaucracy, each with mutually exclusive goals, each imposing their own rules and regulations. We have the CDC, the DEA, the FDA, the DHHS, the AMA, the health care insurers, the malpractice insurers, the lawyers, the courts and least we forget, the unions. Each layer of the bureaucracy imposes more overhead to every stage of health care, from purchasing, to prescriptions, from cleaning services to referrals, from approving care providers, to approving drugs.

    So, adding another whole layer of bureaucracy on top of all that was supposed to fix it?

    Insanity.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 9:49 PM, mycountry wrote:

    why is anyone trying to find ways to keep a mandate nobody wants it's unbelievable to read articles of people trying to keep obama/obamacare where do you people live and where do you get or believe that obamacare will work I have no problem getting healthcare none what so ever the problem I have with this issue is that obama and congress work for the American People not the other way around and you have obama and the democrats trying to rule the very people that pay them to govern us, I'll get healthcare on my own terms not because so idiot thinks I need it if I could find to get congress to repeal the auto insurance and the seatbelt mandate I would the way I see it cops are driving my car on my roads to catch real criminals the state doesn't pay for my car, we pay for lawmakers to govern not to rule

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 9:54 PM, thegodfather4u wrote:

    The RAPE of America continues and has been evident for OVER last 6 + years.... impossible unemployment, history making deficits, never mentioned homeless (like vietnam) , spying on american's phones, computers, email, financial information, stolen billions from our medicare and social security, increased false data fed to us by government owned media (communist brainwashing) to try and put american's into a false sense of security, allowing over 38 million illegals pushed on our floundering economy, increased racial tensions, have more and more Trilateral nominee's appointed and a Supreme Court making laws against Americans, allowing insider trading with the senate, congress, and every "in the know" employee in the fed, propaganda through the AP/Bloomberg etc creating more in-fighting , and the violation of our constitution over and over by the individuals we elected and the farce, Unconstitutional OBAMACARE ...To tell "We the People" that we MUST take all of this and say nothing is DISGUSTING & UNACCEPTABLE............OUR CHANGE WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE NICKELS AND DIMES..........

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 10:05 PM, JenniferGoltman wrote:

    Not sure if you 'also' see this as a great-coincidence, but those three organizations were also major 'Hillary' donors when she was carpetbagging her way to New York State a while back...

  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2013, at 1:49 AM, xcxcxcer45 wrote:

    Obama supporters will go hysterical over this well sourced list of 504 examples of his lying, lawbreaking, corruption, cronyism, etc. http://danfromsquirrelhill.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/obama-25...

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