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WellPoint viewed as worst by hospitals as UnitedHealth gains

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WellPoint Inc.’s status as the second-largest health plan in the U.S. didn’t help it win the popularity contest among hospital executives. An industry survey by ReviveHealth shows WellPoint ranked dead last among the six largest for-profit insurers. “Hospitals say WellPoint is just exceptionally difficult to deal with,” said Brandon Edwards, president of ReviveHealth. Jason Gurda, an analyst at Leerink Swann & Co. says having lots of market share means you don’t have to be as generous as everybody else. The insurer, which owns Blue Cross plans in 14 states, has lost 18% of its market value over two months despite efforts to cut costs and improve earnings. Cigna had the best reputation at 71%.