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Cigna, Aetna profits jump in Q4

Cigna's fourth quarter earnings increased 40 percent and Aetna reported a 30 percent earnings increase as they, like competitors UnitedHealth and WellPoint, benefited from decreased healthcare use due to the weakened economy.

Cigna (NYSE: CI) reported a profit of $461 million, or $1.69 a share, compared with $330 million, or $1.19 a share, a year earlier. In addition, Cigna's medical-loss ratio declined to 78 percent from 84 percent in 2009, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Total medical membership also rose, climbing 4 percent to 11.4 million people in the fourth quarter, compared to the final quarter of 2009, when it fell more than 5 percent. That helped hike premiums and fees 20 percent to $3.37 billion in healthcare, according to NPR.

Cigna officials described the company's 2011 outlook as "competitively attractive" as it redoubles its efforts to expand internationally, including Europe and Asia, Reuters reports.

Meanwhile, Aetna (NYSE: AET) reported a profit of $215.6 million, or 53 cents a share, up from $165.9 million, or 38 cents a share, a year earlier. Its total medical-loss ratio declined to 83 percent from 85 percent a year earlier, notes the WSJ.

Aetna also saw a drop in both revenue from premiums and total membership. Revenue from premiums and fees declined 2 percent to $8.51 billion for the quarter, compared with $8.7 billion during the same period in 2009, notes the Hartford Courant. Total membership was 18.5 million at year's end, falling 60,000 sequentially.

To learn more:
- read the Wall Street Journal articles on Cigna and on Aetna
- view the Hartford Courant story
- check out the NPR article
- see the Reuters piece

Related Articles:
WellPoint repositions as Q4 revenues drop
UnitedHealth boosted revenue, enrollment in 4Q
Cigna's medical enrollment increases while Q3 profits fall

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