Cigna (CI), SRHS Tie Up to Offer…

Cigna Corporation CI recently inked a multi-year deal with South Carolina-based Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS). The move intends to benefit CI’s customers with continued access to the comprehensive network of hospitals, facilities and physician network of SRHS.

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Shares of Cigna gained 1.5% on Dec 21.

The recently inked deal, which will be effective Jan 1, 2022, will continue to aid the mutual customers and employer clients of Cigna and SRHS with an advanced and cost-effective care across the Upstate community.

The latest partnership seems to bring a ray of hope for those numerous workers with Cigna plans in the Upstate who were worried after SRHS excluded CI as a commercial medical insurer from its network on Jun 1, 2020.

Earlier, a two-year contract between Cigna and SRHS was signed and supposed to get concluded on Mar 31, 2020, but the timeline got stretched by extra two months as both healthcare providers strived hard to reach a new agreement. Despite all efforts, disagreement over contract negotiations was cited as a reason to discontinue the contract, per SRHS management.  

But now with the new alliance in place, Cigna’s healthcare capabilities and presence will be strengthened in the Upstate. SRHS, which remains committed to bring about better health outcomes across the Upstate South Carolina over a substantial time period, seems an apt partner for complementing CI’s endeavor.

Initiatives similar to the recent one reflect a collaborative approach followed by Cigna. As part of its strategy, CI continues to partner with several well-established healthcare systems for enhancing health outcomes across the areas it serves. These initiatives also enabled CI to tap newer geographies and cater to those regions grappling with inaccessibility to care.  These collaborations pursued by this global health service provider also widened its partner networks and worldwide presence in due course of time.  

In October 2021, Cigna inked a deal to expand its partnership with Virginia-based Mary Washington Health Alliance. A month prior to that development, CI cemented ties with Texas-based leading diversified healthcare services provider Tenet Healthcare.

Cigna remains steadfast in catering to the diversified health needs of people for which, apart from undertaking collaborations, it offers enhanced Medicare Advantage (MA) plans across the United States. Some of the regions that CI has penetrated through cost-effective MA plans over the past few months include Florida, Connecticut, Portland and the St. Louis area.

Such consistent efforts gave a boost to the medical customer base of Cigna. For 2021, management anticipates total medical customer growth to be at least 350,000, significantly higher than the metric declining 472,000 last year due to the COVID-related disruptions.

Similar to Cigna, other players in the medical space, such as Humana Inc. HUM, Centene Corporation CNC and UnitedHealth Group Incorporated UNH also pursue constant collaborations or expand product offerings, resulting in solid membership growth.

Humana continues to pursue collaborations with physicians and well-established healthcare providers for better patient care. These initiatives continue to bolster membership growth of HUM. For 2021, Humana forecasts individual MA membership to witness 11% year-over-year growth. The healthcare provider teamed up with Allina Health and Hutchinson Clinic in November 2021 for including additional members within its value-based relationships.

Centene forges partnerships for expanding its addressable markets and increasing membership growth. Several contract wins and renewals resulted in higher membership growth in the MA business. For 2022, Centene plans to foray into 327 new counties and three new states including Massachusetts, Nebraska and Oklahoma through enhanced MA offerings.

UnitedHealth Group joins forces with several organizations to expand access to vital healthcare and aid U.S. residents in leading a healthy life. UNH boasts a strong Medicare business through which it steadily devises cost-effective health plans, reaching out to various parts of the nation. As of Sep 30, 2021, the number of individuals served through UnitedHealth Group’s MA business grew 14% from the year-ago comparable period’s level.

Shares of Cigna have gained 11.6% in a year compared with the industry’s rally of 38.3%. CI currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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Shares of Humana, Centene and UnitedHealth Group have gained 11.1%, 41.4% and 44.3%, respectively, in a year.

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