Cordani touts Cigna's partnerships with Prime Therapeutics, Oscar Health

A sign at the front of Cigna's headquarters
Cigna released its fourth-quarter and year-end earnings Thursday. (Cigna)

Cigna CEO David Cordani touted the insurer's penchant for innovative partnerships in the industry as part of the company's earnings on Thursday.

Cordani noted that over the past several months Cigna has unveiled initiatives in tandem with Prime Therapeutics and Oscar Health. Prime Therapeutics, a pharmacy benefit manager owned by 18 Blues plans, and Express Scripts revealed in December that they would team up over the next three years to drive down drug costs.

Express Scripts will spearhead negotiations with drug companies for the pharmacy benefit, and both will manage value-based contracts individually.

"This agreement shows our ability to work across healthcare and partner with those who seek to deliver innovative, high-quality health services and solutions to employers, health plans and governmental agencies to the benefit of customers and patients," Cordani said on the earnings call.

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Cigna and Oscar Health announced last month that they would join forces to launch integrated health plans aimed at small employers. The plans offer a broad provider network and Oscar's suite of technology tools.

Cordani said that's evidence of Cigna's pursuit of partnerships with "emerging and highly innovative companies."

Cigna reported $5.1 billion in profits for 2019, nearly doubling its profit from the previous year of $2.6 billion in a jump driven largely by the insurer's acquisition of Express Scripts.

The insurer also reported earning $977 million for the fourth quarter, again significantly outpacing 2018's haul of $144 million in the fourth quarter.

Annual revenue reached $140 billion in 2019, nearly tripling year over year from the $48 billion in revenue Cigna posted for 2018.

The Express Scripts deal closed in December 2018, so last year was the first the combination showed its impacts on Cigna's financial performance. The financial boost from Express Scripts has been a consistent theme in quarterly filings throughout 2019.

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Cigna expects to see similar performance in 2020, Cordani said in a statement.

"In the first year of our combination, as a result of our focus on execution, partnering, and ongoing innovation, Cigna delivered on our commitments to customers, clients, and shareholders," Cordani said. 

Cigna projects revenue of between $154 billion and $156 billion for 2020, with profits likely landing between $6.8 billion and $7 billion.

"Our strong momentum going into 2020 positions us for continued growth, and to deliver sustained value for our customers and clients, as we create greater affordability, predictability and simplicity for their benefit," Cordani said.

Cigna's medical membership reached 17.1 million in 2019, while pharmacy benefit enrollment increased by 2.7 million to 75.9 million members.