Cigna Corp. reported first-quarter earnings significantly above analysts’ expectations, as the company said it better managed company expenses and medical costs.
Net income for the quarter $528 million, or $1.92 per share, compared with $57 million ,or 20 cents per share, in 2013. In the first quarter of 2013, earnings included special items that resulted in $558 million in after-tax charges, or $1.93 per share.
Quarterly income from operations was $501 million, or $1.83 per share, compared with $497 million, or $1.72 per share, during the same period in 2013. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting $1.54, on average.
Cigna reported consolidated revenues for the quarter of $8.5 billion, up from $8.2 billion during the same period in 2013.
The company said its results “reflect solid revenue growth, disciplined expense management and continued effective medical cost management.”
The company’s Global Health Care business — which includes medical coverage sold to commercial and government clients — had revenues of $6 billion for the quarter, up from $5.8 billion during the same period in 2013. Adjusted income from operations for the segment was $439 million, compared with $427 million during the same period in 2013.
The company reported that income from operations reflected favorable operating expenses and effective medical-cost management.
Cigna grew its customer base in commercial insurance to 13.69 million people at the end of the quarter compared with 13.66 million one year earlier. The company’s Medicare and Medicaid business grew to 483,000 from 474,000.
Membership in behavioral care was up to 22.72 million at the end of the quarter from 21.98 million a year earlier. Dental coverage membership was up to 7.2 million from 6.9 million a year ago.
In Cigna’s Global Supplemental Benefits segment, revenue from premiums and fees was $680 million for the quarter, compared with $604 million during the same period a year ago. The Global Supplemental Benefits segment includes individual supplemental health, life and accident coverage in Asia, along with Medicare supplement coverage in the U.S. Adjusted income from operations in the segment was down to $53 million from $55 million a year ago. The customer base grew to 12 million from 11.6 million.
Cigna’s Group Disability and Life segment had revenues of $916 million, up from $858 million during the same period a year ago. Adjusted income from operations in the segment was $67 million compared with $49 million a year ago. The segment includes group disability, life and accident insurance.
Shares of Cigna stock were up 46 cents in pre-market trading from the Wednesday’s closing price of $80.04.