Cigna: Obamacare Works Better With Tailored Network of Doctors

Cigna CEO David Cordani told attendees of the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference that his company found Obamcare policies to make more financial sense for the company when the customers are seen within a coordinated group of physicians and hospitals known as an Accountable Care Organization.

Cigna is on Obamacare exchanges in seven states in 2017, but they're not the same seven states where it sold in 2016. He said the company expects to add 100,000 people to its Obamacare business in 2017.

In November, Cigna had about 176,000 Obamacare customers. He warned then that even with the cautious approach to Obamacare, Cigna will lose money on the business in 2017.

Cordani made no comments in his prepared remarks on what Cigna would like Congress and the new presidential administration to do as they look to repeal and replace Obamacare.

He also said very little about what would happen if Anthem buys his company, or if a U.S. District Judge blocks the deal.

Final documents are due to Judge Amy Berman Jackson next week, and it's not known when she will rule.

"Whether it's through our proposed combination with Anthem, which we believe has the ability to accelerate our journey; or as a standalone, sovereign company, we will continue to deliver results for our customers today," Cordani said.

Cordani expressed regret in the presentation to investors at the JP Morgan Healthcare conference in California that Cigna had not reached its typical profit margins last year because of problems in its disability insurance and Medicare Advantage divisions.

But he said Medicare Advantage has only lost about 10 percent of its customers as a result of federal government sanctions, and margins in both businesses have been improving.

The sanctions were implemented because Cigna had systemic problems, and had not fixed them after previous warnings, regulators said.

"Violations resulted in enrollees experiencing delays or denials in receiving medical services and prescription drugs, and increased out of pocket costs for medical services and prescription drugs," the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid sanction letter said.

Those sanctions have not yet been lifted.

Cordani took questions from stock analysts at the conference, but that was not part of the webcast, and a spokesman for Cigna said he did not have a transcript of what was said.

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