Cigna Corp. posted higher profit and revenue in the first quarter of 2018 as it grew premiums and membership in its commercial employer business.
The Bloomfield, Conn.-based health insurer recorded net income of $917 million in the three months ended March 31, up 54.6% over the same period a year ago. Cigna also reported total revenue of $11.4 billion, an increase of 8.6%, driven by both its healthcare and supplemental benefits segments.
"Cigna's strong first-quarter performance was driven by the continued, effective execution of our proven growth strategy, which we expect to further accelerate through our pending combination with Express Scripts," Cigna CEO David Cordani said Thursday in a release announcing the quarter's financial results. "We continue to deliver exceptional value for our customers and clients with market-leading solutions that provide greater affordability, personalization and predictability."
Operating revenue from the insurer's healthcare plans grew 9.7% to $9.1 billion, while operating revenue from supplemental benefits, including supplemental health, life and accident insurance products, jumped 21.2% to $1.1 billion.
Commercial employer premiums grew 16% to $5 billion. But premiums from its government business, which includes Medicare and Medicaid plans, dipped 0.7% to $2 billion.
Cigna grew commercial membership but lost customers in its government business. It added new customers to its individual commercial insurance plans, bringing the tally to 401,000 individual customers, up 13.6% over the same time a year ago. Of those, Cigna insures 348,000 through the Affordable Care Act exchanges.
Cigna also increased membership of employers with fewer than 500 employers by 14.3% to 2.1 million. It grew membership of middle-size employers by 2.9% to nearly 8 million, but membership of big employers with over 5,000 workers dipped slightly to 3.7 million.
Meanwhile, Cigna lost members in both Medicare and Medicaid segments. Medicaid membership fell 16.4% to 51,000, while Medicare customers dropped by 1.8% to 433,000. In all Cigna's total medical membership was 16.2 million, up 3.2%.
Cigna's medical loss ratio was 76.7% compared with 79.1% at the same time in 2017.