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Cigna profit down slightly on merger costs

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Cigna Corp. on Friday said it recorded net income of $519 million for the first quarter of 2016, a 2.6% drop from the prior-year quarter due to costs related to its merger with Anthem Inc., which may be delayed until 2017.

The health insurer's total revenue increased 4.4% over the first quarter of 2015 to $9.88 billion, according to Cigna's earnings statement.

The insurer plans to merge with Anthem but Friday said that may only occur next year due to the complexity of the regulatory process, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Cigna saw strong earnings in premiums and fees from its global health care segment, up 4.9% to $7.06 billion for the quarter ending March 31, due partly to Cigna's 3.2% increase in medical customers driven by organic growth, particularly in the Medicare Advantage segment, for a total of 15.1 million, according to the statement.

“Our strong first-quarter results reflect the continued focused execution of Cigna's global strategy,” Cigna President and CEO David M. Cordani said in the statement. “Cigna's ability to deliver quality outcomes and affordability reflects the value Cigna delivers to our customers and clients while continuing to position for success in our combination with Anthem,” he said.

A spokesman for Cigna said the conference call is postponed until after the upcoming Anthem merger.