The 2014 All-America Research Team: Managed Care, No. 1: Justin Lake


< The 2014 All-America Research Team


Justin LakeJ.P. MorganFirst-Place Appearances: 2

Total Appearances: 6

Analyst Debut: 2008Buy-siders return Justin Lake to the top of this list and to the No. 1 position in Health Care Facilities, citing the 43-year-old J.P. Morgan researcher’s rigorous tracking of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act since the program’s troubled rollout as well as his long-standing preference for Humana. “Justin was one of the few analysts to realize that the new Medicare rates were not as bad as they seemed and backed up his conclusion with thorough research,” one backer reports. “He is regularly able to peel back the layers of detail on complex legislation in his space and translate the essence of any new developments into timely, actionable takeaways on his coverage names.” Broadly, Lake is upbeat on the prospects for U.S. managed care players. “We continue to expect the sector to perform well going into 2015, with the main question being around the trajectory of medical cost trends given the ACA-related utilization uptick seen by providers,” he says. “Should the cost trend remain benign, look for the group to migrate higher through year end.” As of mid-September the shares were up 15.4 percent year to date and ahead of the broad market by 8.1 percentage points. Humana — whose stock jumped 19.1 percent this year through mid-September, to $122.34, and earn a price objective of $150 — remains Lake’s top pick. The Louisville, Kentucky–based diversified provider will “deliver strong earnings growth over the next several years, as Humana benefits from strong senior growth in the Medicare Advantage program, as well as improving margins,” he explains. Lake also expects management “to unlock shareholder value from its underlevered balance sheet and [pharmacy benefits management] over the next 12 to 18 months.”