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Analysis

Express Scripts Merger Shows Promise as Cigna Revenues Triple

By Jack O'Brien  
   May 02, 2019

The Bloomfield, Connecticut-based insurer rebounded with revenues totalling nearly $38 billion in Q1.

One quarter after failing to meet earnings estimates, Cigna Corp. posted $37.9 billion in total quarterly revenues, nearly tripling its total revenues from Q1 2018, according to its earnings report released Thursday morning.

Cigna reported $33.4 billion in adjusted revenues for Q1. For reference, the Bloomfield, Connecticut-based insurer recorded total adjusted revenues of $48 billion for the full year in 2018.

The insurer, reporting its second quarterly earnings since it closed its $52 billion megamerger with Express Scripts Holding Co., achieved a net income of $1.3 billion, up from $915 million this time last year. 

C-SUITE PERSPECTIVE:

"Cigna's first quarter performance reflects focused execution of our proven growth strategy and positions us well to achieve our increased outlook for 2019," Cordani said in a statement. "Our combination
with Express Scripts is fueling additional innovative programs for the benefit of our customers and patients, as we accelerate our efforts to improve the affordability of health care."

By the end of Q1, Cigna serviced 17 million members, a 224,000 member increase year-over-year, supported by select and middle market segment growth though slightly offset by declines in national accounts.

Customer relationships blossomed in Q1, as the company finished with just over 168 million, a more than 70 million increase compared to Q1 2018.

Cigna also posted quartely adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $3.90, down from $4.11 in Q1 2018 but well exceeding the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.74.

Related: Christus Health System Renews Relationship With Cigna

The insurer's Q1 was marked by ongoing legal proceedings in the state of Delaware and activity on Capitol Hill.

In the First State, Cigna and Anthem have been waiting on a chancery judge's ruling to determine which company is owed money as a result of their aborted 2017 merger bid.

Cigna claims its owed $16 billion while Anthem claims its owed $20 billion, claiming Cordani intentionally sabotaged the deal.

Related: Anthem, Cigna Await Delaware Court's Ruling

In Washington, D.C., Cigna's role in the national conversation over prescription drug prices has drawn praise and criticism.

Back in early April, Express Scripts announced that it would allow clients to limit the out-of-pocket costs associated with insulin at $25 per month.

This move was applauded by many, including Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley, but Cigna still faced questions about why the policy could not be applied to other expensive prescription drugs.

Related: Sen. Chuck Grassley Questions Insulin Pricing Efforts

Additionally, Steve Miller, MD, executive vice president and CCO of Cigna, testified in front of the upper chamber as part of a hearing on the role of PBMs one week later.

There, he answered questions from lawmakers about what PBMs do as a function in the healthcare industry and how they could contribute to lowering high prescription drug prices.

At one point during the hearing, Miller stated that rebates for PBMs bring down costs for consumers, a claim that was challenged by an industry analyst.

ADDITIONAL CIGNA Q1 EARNINGS REPORT HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Cigna's health services segment revenues jumped sharply, rising from $1 billion in Q1 2018 to $22.4 billion in Q1.
  • The insurer's debt to capitalization ratio for Q1 was 48.8%, an improvement on its 50.9% in Q4 2018.
  • Through the first four months of 2019, the insurer repurchased 3.1 million shares for $556 million. 

For complete financial information, review Cigna's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Photo credit: KONSKIE, POLAND - AUGUST 11, 2018: Cigna logo displayed on a modern smartphone - Image / Editorial credit: Piotr Swat / Shutterstock.com


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Cigna reported $33.4 billion in adjusted revenues for Q1, this after posting adjusted revenues of $48 billion for the full year in 2018.

The insurer also posted quartely adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $3.90, well exceeding Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.74.

CEO David Cordani cited the Express Scripts megamerger as "fueling additional innovative programs" for customers serviced by Cigna.


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