Cigna raises outlook in quarterly earnings, proves savings in integrated model

Global health services company Cigna raised its end-of-year outlook after reporting higher revenues during the third quarter of 2018.

The company, which is currently acquiring pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts in a $67 billion deal, reported a 9 percent increase in revenues, to $11.5 billion during the third quarter, compared to the same time period in 2017. Shareholders' income rose to $772 million, or $3.14 per share, compared to $560 million, or $2.21 per share, a year ago.

“Cigna continues to provide more affordable, personalized solutions for our customers and clients, enabling us to deliver strong results,” David M. Cordani, president and CEO, said in a statement. “Looking ahead to 2019, we expect to continue driving innovation, growth and value, all of which will be further enhanced through our pending combination with Express Scripts.”

Part of Cigna’s quarterly success was growth in its commercial insurance business and expansion of specialty relationships.

The company expects to complete its deal with Express Scripts by the end of the year.

“We're ready to close and get on with execution,” Cordani said during the company's quarterly earnings call with analysts.

Integrated model study

Cigna also recently released findings of its third annual integration study, which examined potential savings from an integrated model for individuals whose medical, behavioral and pharmacy health benefits are connected and administered by Cigna.

Employers see an average medical savings of $193 annually for each person covered, and $645 annually for each person with a known health improvement opportunity, according to the study.

“A person’s physical and mental health are connected, and health care is best delivered––and produces the best outcomes––when it is connected as well,” Scott Josephs, MD, national medical officer at Cigna, said in a statement. “The results of this study demonstrate the value of our integrated, holistic approach to health care, and we’ll continue to advocate for more integration on behalf of the people we serve.”

Cigna compared approximately 4.9 million customer claims from January 2016 to December 2017 from medical claims for group benefit plans. Half had comprehensive, integrated benefits by Cigna and half had medical benefits with standard behavioral benefits administered by Cigna.

Those within the integrated model also saw a 9 percent reduction in high cost medical claims and had a 10 percent reduction in out-of-network claims. This group was also 22 percent more engaged in health coaching and case management programs. Employers saw average cost savings of $9,792 for engaged customers with a specialty condition such as multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis. When diabetes patients were engaged, the savings were $5,900, according to the study.