Cigna’s leaders gathered recently in New York City for our first in-person Investor Day since the pandemic began. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Cordani and other company leaders spoke with the investment community and shareholders, illustrating the many ways we are delivering on our mission and investing in a rapidly changing future.
"Since we last met more than a year ago, we’ve made significant progress in delivering on our mission to improve the health, well-being, and peace of mind of those we serve."David Cordani, chairman and CEO, Cigna
In addition, we are executing our growth strategy, which guides us to deliver differentiated value in our chosen markets, and investing in our future as we broaden our portfolio of services and benefits solutions. Cigna’s two growth platforms are Evernorth, its health services business, and Cigna Healthcare, which includes its U.S. Commercial, U.S. Government, and International Health businesses.
Cordani outlined five strategic priorities for the company:
- Continuing targeted investment to sustain differentiation in Cigna’s U.S. Commercial and Evernorth’s pharmacy businesses
- Unlocking deeper savings within the rapidly-growing specialty pharmacy business
- Expanding our Evernorth Care Services businesses
- Driving accelerated growth in our U.S. Government business
- Capitalizing on our digital-first orientation
Investor Day presentations were streamed for those who couldn’t attend in person. In case you missed them, take a moment to read these highlights.
(Note: Some of the quotes in this article were lightly edited for clarity.)
Pharmacological Innovation Offers Great Promises
Evernorth manages health services solutions, including pharmacy benefits and specialty pharmacy care. Matt Perlberg, president of Evernorth’s pharmacy business, and Amy Bricker, president of Express Scripts, Evernorth’s pharmacy benefits management business, explored the rapid pace of innovation, the promise of biosimilars, and how the company is harnessing its deep expertise to rein in costs.
“Just last year, nearly 8,000 products were in the clinical development pipeline globally,” Bricker (left) said. “Looking further ahead, numerous drugs are coming to market, the majority of them in the specialty space, which, as you know, come with high price tags.”
Those figures illustrate why our expertise and tools will continue to be vitally important to the customers we serve. The coming wave of biosimilars – clinically equivalent, lower-cost alternatives to expensive brand-name biologics – is another area that will require the expert management provided by Express Scripts and Accredo, Evernorth’s industry-leading specialty pharmacy.
“Much like generics, biosimilars have the potential to create competition with branded products, which will dramatically lower costs for plan sponsors and patients,” Perlberg (right) said. “While we have seen a handful of biosimilars launch for drugs administered under the medical benefit, the largest biologic drugs in the U.S. have yet to face competition. That is about to change. We expect that by 2025, biosimilars and/or generics will launch for nearly 30% of the top 25 specialty drugs in the U.S.”
Our pharmacy business is poised to take a leadership role in driving transformational savings, he said, because we have honed the necessary capabilities for decades. “This model – combining supply chain management with patient and physician engagement to reduce costs and improve care – is at the heart of what we do, day in and day out.”
Providing the Care Patients Need, Where They Need It
Eric Palmer, chief executive officer of Evernorth, spoke about the ways today’s health care system is failing patients, and how Cigna Corp. is working to change that.
“The U.S. health care system provides the world’s most advanced care, yet patients, caregivers, and health care professionals are increasingly frustrated by a system that lacks simplicity, predictability, and transparency,” Palmer (left) said. “Misaligned incentives reward volume over value and sick care over well care; providers are forced to rush through visits. The most vulnerable patients are often left behind because they’re confused, lack access, or cannot afford the care they need.”
The pandemic exacerbated these dynamics, he said, while underscoring the importance of mental health and the effect it has on physical health. “This recognition comes as the U.S. mental health crisis has reached epidemic proportions, with 40% of adults in the U.S. now struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues,” he noted.
In addition, Palmer said, the pandemic has led to a broader acceptance of virtual care. “Not only will virtual care delivery make care more accessible and affordable, it will allow us to identify and close gaps where they exist and improve clinical outcomes,” he said.
Delivering a Seamless End-to-End Experience for Patients
Noelle Eder, executive vice president and global chief information officer at Cigna, shared how we’re bringing our digital-first orientation to life across our company.
In order to efficiently and effectively deliver whole-person health care, we must leverage the power of technology and data, Eder said. That will enable us to deliver personalized, individual care, proactively or in real-time, at the point of need.
“This model also gives us an incredibly rich data set that, when combined with the patient’s health record, gives both us and providers a holistic, current view of the patient’s needs,” Eder (right) said. “This integrated data, coupled with our digital-first, virtual-led approach, gives us the ability to predict specific outcomes before they occur, which will allow us to engage more on preventative health measures, offer alternative treatment pathways, better close gaps in care, and modify or enhance the customer experience in real time, across conditions, regardless of whether an episode is acute or chronic.”
Turning a Health Plan Into a Growth Plan
Mike Triplett, president of Cigna’s U.S. Commercial business, and Chuck Berg, president of our U.S. Government business, looked at the pressures employers are facing and how the benefits they offer can address areas such as productivity, engaging geographically dispersed employees, and mental health and substance use issues.
“Employers have not only been navigating a global pandemic for the last two-plus years, but they’re also now facing intense competition for talent, with increasing cost pressures,” Triplett (left) said. Employee health plan offerings are more important than ever, and as a result, employers are seeking solutions that go well beyond traditional health care coverage.
At Cigna, we take a customized approach by leveraging the full breadth of our enterprise to deliver value. We help our customers access the highest-quality, most cost-effective care, and partner with high-performing providers that maximize health outcomes at the lowest cost. At the same time, we are constantly working to innovate and develop tailored solutions that maximize the value of our industry-leading clinical programs, our deep partnerships, and our care-delivery capabilities.
“We then take those differentiated solutions and integrate them in a way that produces actionable insights, engages customers in their health, and controls total health care spend,” Triplett said.
Berg (right), who joined Cigna in January, noted that the government business has always been of particular interest to him because of the people we serve in these programs. “We have a very significant opportunity to provide benefits, access, and health care resources that would otherwise not be available,” he said. “I believe this business is a great opportunity for Cigna, with the resources and capabilities we have – and the capabilities we are building across the company – particularly within Evernorth.”
Forecast: Healthy Growth Across Evernorth and Cigna Healthcare
Brian Evanko, Cigna's chief financial officer, provided a financial update – including our outlook for 2022 and beyond.
“Cigna's growth starts with our foundational businesses: Express Scripts within Evernorth; and both U.S. Commercial and International Health within Cigna Healthcare,” Evanko (left) said. “These businesses are already scaled, are competitively differentiated, and have opportunities for targeted expansion in their addressable markets.”
Cigna’s accelerated growth opportunities include our Evernorth specialty pharmacy business and Evernorth Care, along with our U.S. Government business within Cigna Healthcare. “There is tremendous opportunity to expand these areas, and they will be a larger portion of the enterprise in five years,” he said. “Each of these businesses would be strong on their own, but when we bring them together, the enterprise leverage that is created will unlock even more value for the organization and customers and clients.”
As a result, he said, we are confident in delivering on our guidance of at least $22.60 per share in 2022, and on delivering against our long-term growth targets while generating significant shareholder value.