Standard & Poor's gives Highmark 'negative' outlook

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Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has affirmed its "A" rating for insurer Highmark Inc. but revised its outlook from stable to negative.

In a press release, S&P analysts said the revision "reflects our expectation that Highmark's operating earnings will weaken further in 2013" because of concessionary pricing in extending its contract with UPMC, expenses related to its plans to build an integrated health care delivery system and preparations for national healthcare reforms.

The agency does expect Highmark's operating earnings to improve in 2014.

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Steve Twedt: stwedt@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1963.


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