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Shares of several health insurers started slipping Tuesday before markets opened on the first trading day after the federal government released preliminary data that points to a steeper-than-expected rate cuts for Medicare Advantage plans in 2014.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Friday after markets closed that it expects costs per person for Medicare Advantage plans to fall more than 2 percent in 2014. The government uses this figure as a benchmark to determine payments for these privately run versions of the government’s Medicare program that covers the elderly and disabled people.

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