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UPDATE 1-Cigna beats profit estimates, raises 2019 forecast

(Compares with analysts' estimates, adds details on quarter)

Oct 31 (Reuters) - Cigna Corp raised its full-year earnings target, after reporting a better-than-expected quarterly profit that was driven by a jump in revenue from its health insurance unit and its Express Scripts pharmacy benefits business.

Revenue from the company's U.S. health insurance business rose nearly 12% to $9.15 billion in the reported quarter, as Cigna added more customers and raised premiums on health plans sold to self-insured customers and large employers.

The health services business, which includes the $52 billion Express Scripts business Cigna bought last year, brought in revenue of $24.88 billion.

Cigna raised its forecast for 2019 adjusted income from operations to between $16.80 and $17 per share, from a prior range of $16.60 to $16.90. Analysts were expecting $16.81 per share.

The company's medical care ratio, which represents the amount it spent on medical claims versus income from premiums, was 80.5% in the third quarter, beating estimates of 80.86%. A lower medical care ratio is better for health insurers.

Net income rose to $1.35 billion, or $3.57 per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, from $772 million, or $3.14 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, Cigna earned $4.54 per share, beating the average analyst estimate of $4.36, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Total revenue more than tripled to $38.56 billion.

(Reporting by Saumya Sibi Joseph and Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)