Cigna profit beats on strength in commercial health plan unit

FILE PHOTO – David Cordani, president and CEO of CIGNA Corp., appears on CNBC at the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) – Cigna Corp (CI.N) on Thursday posted a better-than-expected third-quarter profit as the health insurer earned more in premiums and added more members to its commercial health plans.

The company also raised its earnings forecast for the year and now expects full-year adjusted income of $14.20 to $14.40 per share, compared with its prior forecast of $13.60 to $13.90 per share.

Cigna’s commercial medical loss ratio – the amount it spends on medical claims compared to income from premiums – improved to 76.3 percent in the third quarter, from a year-ago ratio of 78.6 percent.

The commercial business, which saw a 3 percent rise in membership to 15.8 million, benefited from corporate and individual health plans sold.

Net income for Cigna shareholders rose to $772 million, or $3.14 per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from $560 million, or $2.21 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, Cigna earned $3.84 per share, above the average analyst estimate of $3.44 per share, according to Refinitiv data.

Cigna, which is buying pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts Holding Co (ESRX.O) in a $52 billion deal, said total revenue rose 9.2 percent to $11.46 billion.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

Tagged ,