Humana shares down $100 since early November; market cap declined $14B

Humana’s six-month stock chart. | Courtesy of Nasdaq

Humana shares are down more than $100 since early November, a decline of about 28 percent, cutting the Louisville-based company’s value by nearly $14 billion.

Humana shares are sliding as investors appear to be fleeing the health care sector on worries about attacks on the Affordable Care Act, some calls for Medicare for All and congressional inquiries into prescription drug prices, among other possible reasons.

Shares of Humana rivals Cigna, UnitedHealthcare, CVS and Centene have fallen between 18 and 33 percent since early November. Shares of Wellcare and Molina are down, too, though to a lesser extent.

In total, the seven companies have suffered a market cap loss of nearly $128 billion.

During the same period, the S&P 500 has gained more than 3 percent.

Humana’s market cap now is about $34 billion, down about $14 billion since early November.

Graphic by Boris Ladwig

Humana executives sold 74,000 shares in late February when the share price was still above $300. Shares were trading near $250 on Monday.

Humana’s lower stock price may not have any impact on investors who are holding the stock for the long term — but it could be painful for some local investors who had hoped to sell some shares to buy a car, for example. In early November, 100 Humana shares were worth about $35,000, or about the price of a new Ford Explorer. On Monday, they were worth about $10,000 less, or about the price of a Ford Escape.

Industry analysts said the health care sector is under pressure for reasons including expected federal legislation on drug prices, calls from presidential candidates for a Medicare-for-All-type system and the Trump administration’s recent push to overturn all — rather than just parts of — the Affordable Care Act, according to CNBC. According to the Congressional Budget Office, a repeal of the ACA would decrease the number of people with health insurance by 32 million.

With continued consolidation in the health care industry — CVS/Aetna, Cigna/Express Scripts — analysts also continue to float ideas about a potential acquisition by Humana. Cowen analyst Charles Ryhee said recently that Centene’s planned takeover of WellCare could shorten Humana’s timeline for a Medicaid-related acquisition. Ryhee identified Centene and Molina as possible targets.

Humana could not be reached Monday, but companies usually don’t comment on their share price.