Cigna Corporation may opportunistically acquire physician practices as a way to break into new geographic markets but doesn’t have to own primary-care providers in a major way to make its Evernorth health care services division deliver on its medical and financial promises.
Speaking to investors and analysts at the 40th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Chairman and CEO David Cordani said his team is looking to build out the Bloomfield, Conn.-based company’s coordinated care platform – Evernorth was launched in late 2020 and now groups Cigna’s MDLive division as well as pharmacy giant Express Scripts and benefits management and data intelligence ventures – by focusing on those core priorities as well as some home care services. Asked whether success in virtual health and more broadly coordinated care requires having in house a large group of primary-care providers, Cordani said not necessarily.
“We don’t believe we need to own, to be really clear,” Cordani said of primary care. “We seek to partner and to enable to do value-based care.”
Buying practices to scale up in certain cities, Cordani added, “would be a market-specific decision where the local geographic norms speak to it. The virtual is more longitudinal; that’s national and global capabilities. The physical delivery will be a highly localized decision.”
Broadly, however, M&A is still very much on Cigna’s radar. Asked about the company’s lineup of digital services, Cordani said the company’s leaders will use all available tools at their disposal – organic investments, partnerships through their Cigna Ventures investing group and acquisitions – to grow and continue to innovate. (At another investor conference in November, CFO Brian Evanko noted that Cigna is looking to over time add services to the MDLive platform.)
“We like the tools we have. This remains an inorganic priority,” Cordani said Jan. 11. “There may be additional bolt-ons […] It will be organic, partnered and situationally acquired bolt-ons that are brought in […] We like the position we’re in right now.”
Shares of Cigna (Ticker: CI) rose nearly 3 percent to about $240. Over the past six months, they are up slightly.