Health insurer Cigna announced Wednesday it is divesting its Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, and other Medicare operations to Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) in a $3.7 billion cash deal.
Cigna said the sale will streamline its business to focus on growing its health services and benefits platforms. Proceeds will also fund share repurchases, with the transaction expected to be accretive to adjusted earnings per share in 2025.
Refocusing the Portfolio
The sale includes Cigna’s Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, Cigna Supplemental Benefits, and the CareAllies health support services unit.
With HCSC taking over these businesses, Cigna can direct more investment and resources toward expanding its Evernorth health services division and Cigna Healthcare commercial health benefits segment.
Evernorth provides pharmacy benefits management, specialty pharmacy, and health technology solutions. Cigna Healthcare offers employer-sponsored group health plans as well as individual plans.
While Cigna sees Medicare as an attractive market, the segment required outsized focus and capital relative to its size within Cigna’s broader portfolio. The sale unlocks value and simplifies operations.
Gaining Scale and Capabilities
For HCSC, the transaction accelerates growth in Medicare, where the company has over 1 million members currently across 7 states. Adding Cigna’s Medicare customers and capabilities will expand HCSC’s geographic reach and enhance its product portfolio.
The businesses being acquired generated around $5.5 billion in 2022 revenues for Cigna. So the deal provides HCSC with meaningful membership and revenue growth in Medicare and immediate scale.
Cigna built a significant presence in Medicare through organic growth and acquisitions like HealthSpring in 2011. HCSC gains these customer relationships and infrastructure with the purchase.
Focusing on What Cigna Does Best
Cigna has been optimizing its portfolio under CEO David Cordani to concentrate on its core competencies. Last year, Cigna sold its international life, accident, and supplemental benefits businesses.
The Medicare sale continues this strategic focus on areas where Cigna has differentiated capabilities and growth opportunities. Evernorth provides unique pharmacy solutions and analytics. Cigna Healthcare leverages the company’s strong employer and health plan expertise.
The transaction value of $3.7 billion represents about 10 times Medicare Advantage customer revenue and 16 times Medicare Part D customer revenue. This appears a solid price for Cigna to unlock capital from non-core assets.
Cigna expects the deal will be 5-10% accretive to adjusted EPS in 2025 once completed. The company reaffirmed its 2024 outlook and long-term 10-13% annual EPS growth target.
Proceeds from the divestiture will primarily fund share buybacks, representing an attractive return of capital for investors. Cigna previously had around $7.5 billion remaining on its buyback authorization.
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2025 after securing necessary regulatory clearances. There is no financing condition, providing transaction certainty.
Overall, the sale highlights Cigna’s disciplined portfolio approach to drive shareholder value. Consolidating its focus while monetizing Medicare strengthens Cigna’s growth trajectory in targeted segments. For HCSC, the deal accelerates its diversification into a key government market.