The Motley Fool's Market Checkup drills down on the hottest headlines and biggest market movers in the health-care sector. This episode -- featuring a special guest appearance by Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning -- highlights a biotech stock that popped 40%, gives a full examination of the Affordable Care Act's debut week, and finishes off with two stocks poised to profit from Obamacare.
In the following video, Dan discusses Obamacare's opening week with Fool health-care bureau chief Max Macaluso and health-care analyst David Williamson. Dan notes that huge amounts of traffic overwhelmed the websites for the various state and federal exchanges, proving that Americans are at the very least interested in learning more about how the program will work and making Obamacare proponents optimistic that the general public will take advantage of the program to get insurance coverage. Throughout the health-care sector, we've seen companies make substantial moves in recent years based on the expectation that the Affordable Care Act and other initiatives would drive major changes on which they could capitalize. For instance, WellPoint (NYSE:ANTM) decided to acquire Amerigroup and Cigna (NYSE:CI) bought out HealthSpring in the hope that opportunities in Medicaid and Medicare would drive growth for the insurance companies well into the future.
David points out that the federal government had 4.7 million unique visitors, 200,000 calls to its call centers. Big states such as New York and California also reported huge volume, with New York's website getting 7.5 million visits and California's 5 million. Those figures could end up validating decisions from WellPoint and HealthNet (UNKNOWN:HNT.DL) to participate in the California exchange, even as Cigna and many of its peers chose not to focus on joining large numbers of state exchanges. If those visitors follow through with purchases, then HealthNet and WellPoint could see long-term benefits as a result. Max concludes the segment by noting that costs of premiums also came in lower than expected, helping to drive interest.
Neither Dan Caplinger, Max Macaluso, Ph.D., nor David Williamson has any position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of WellPoint. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.