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Cigna Profit Rises, International Operations Boost 

Health insurer Cigna said on Wednesday that fourth-quarter profit rose 13 percent, helped by its international operations and disability and life business.

Net income at the Philadelphia-based company rose to $263 million, or 93 cents per share, from $232 million, or 76 cents per share, a year earlier, when results suffered because of charges.

Excluding items, adjusted income from operations was 98 cents per share.

Analysts on average expected 97 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue rose 6 percent to $4.46 billion.

Membership in the company's health plans rose 8.3 percent to 10.2 million from a year earlier, but fell slightly from the third quarter.

Cigna raised its 2008 earnings outlook to a range of $4.05 to $4.25 per share, excluding items and any stock repurchases. It had forecast $4 to $4.20 in
November. Analysts expect $4.24.

However, the company projected full-year membership growth of 2 percent to 5 percent, excluding the impact of a big acquisition, down from its November forecast of 3 percent to 5 percent.

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