Cigna, Aetna deliver improved profits for Q2

While last quarter was pretty much a gloom and doom situation for health plans, this quarter is shaping up in a better way for the industry. Two prime examples come from Cigna and Aetna, both of which announced their quarterly statements last week. Cigna's Q2 '08 income climbed 37 percent over the same period last year and Aetna's profits went up 6.4 percent for its second quarter.

Cigna's net income was $272 million for the second quarter, up from $198 million one year ago. Revenue, meanwhile, rose 11 percent to $4.86 billion from $4.38 billion. Aetna, meanwhile, earned $480.5 million during its second quarter, compared with profit of $451.3 million during the same period the previous year. The profit increase was fueled by a growth in revenue, which rose 15 percent to $7.83 billion from $6.79 billion.

Cigna's income growth came from several sources, including a 19 percent growth in medical membership over the first half of the year, and premium fees climbed 13 percent. Both were fueled partly by the company's April 1 acquisition of Great-West Healthcare. Aetna, for its part, boasted a respectable medical benefit ratio, i.e. the percentage of each dollar of premium it spends on healthcare costs. The ratio was 81.9 percent this quarter, compared with 81.5 percent in the same quarter last year. Meanwhile, medical membership rose 0.2 percent from the first quarter to 17.5 million. 

To learn more about Cigna's results:
- read this Cigna press release

And to find out more about Aetna's results:
- read this Associated Press piece

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