While poised to grow its Medicaid business, WellPoint will have to fight to retain a big chunk of customers, according to Credit Suisse, after the debut of government-run insurance exchanges next year that help people shop for coverage.

The nation's second-largest insurer also is dealing with a change in leadership at a crucial time, analyst Ralph Giacobbe said. CEO Angela Braly resigned last August and WellPoint has yet to announce her successor.

Giacobbe initiated coverage of the Indianapolis company with a "neutral" rating. That's down from the previous Credit Suisse rating of "outperform" under another analyst.

Giacobbe said in a Wednesday research note that WellPoint's recently completed acquisition of Amerigroup Corp. more than doubles the insurer's Medicaid enrollment. Medicaid is the state-federal program that provides coverage for the needy and disabled.

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