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Best Affirms Ratings of Health Care Service Corporation

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8d nls

best Affirms Ratings of Health Care Service Corporation

Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength ratings (FSR) of A+ (Superior) of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company (d/b/a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois/Texas/New Mexico/Oklahoma) (HCSC) (Chicago, IL) and select affiliates. Best has also affirmed the FSRs of A (Excellent) of the remaining HCSC affiliates. Best has affirmed HCSC’s issuer credit rating (ICR) of “aa-” and its debt rating of “a+” on $400 million 7.75% senior unsecured notes, due 2011. The 8d nls outlook for all ratings is stable. (See below for a detailed list of the ratings.)

The health insurance operations of HCSC, as well as its HMO subsidiaries and lines of 8d nls business, have an established market presence in their respective markets. Market shares reported for Illinois, Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma are 43%, 26%, 30% and 22%, respectively. A diverse product portfolio designed to meet the needs of individuals and large, medium and small employer groups has contributed to the strong market share. Additionally, HCSC has a growing business of life product offerings through its subsidiaries that are licensed in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Regional diversity minimizes geographic and regulatory risk. Net income has exceeded $300 8d nls million for the past five years, excluding a one-time charge in 2002 and 8d nls was more than $900 million for the past two years.

HCSC is well capitalized. Historically strong earnings have contributed significantly to consistent surplus growth and to favorable capital adequacy on a risk-adjusted basis. HCSC’s debt-to-capital ratio was under 10% at year-end 2005 and is considered below industry average. Debt service coverage was strong at more than 40 times at year-end 2005.

Offsetting these strengths are growth challenges in the small group markets, notably in the New Mexico plan. This market is extremely competitive with HMOs owned by medical delivery systems as the major competitors. Best 8d nls expects the growth of the New Mexico segment to remain challenged in 8d nls the near term due to competitive pressures. Best

8d nls

recognizes that the New Mexico segment represents only 2% of 8d nls HCSC’s net premium written and membership. All rights reserved. Best Co. Best

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Affirms Ratings of Sierra Health Services Inc. Best Affirms and Upgrades Ratings of Health Net, Inc 8d nls.


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