Cigna first-quarter profits drop 80 percent

Uh oh--this can't be good. A multitude of insurers have have posted rather disappointing financial results, including UnitedHealth Group, Humana, Health Net and WellPoint--and now another big insurer joins the party. Cigna has announced that it saw an 80 percent drop in first-quarter profits over the same quarter last year, with earnings of $58 million this time versus $289 million one year ago. Cigna has been hit by a multitude of factors, including a tough flu season, litigation and the cost of integrating newly-acquired Great-West Healthcare. All that being said, Cigna executives did cite some bright spots in their picture, including a predicted rise of 2 to 2.5 percent in enrollment (excluding Great-West enrollees). But this is still shaping up to be a tough year for U.S. health plans generally. Brace yourself for next year: premiums are likely to shoot up, employees to carry more costs, and providers to get hit with more bad debt. It's a pretty ugly picture all around.

To learn more about Cigna's problems:
- read this Modern Healthcare article (reg. req.)

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