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Matt Rourke/AP

Cigna has lost roughly a half billion dollars tied to federal sanctions against its Medicare Advantage plans, according to people familiar with the matter.

The $500 million deficit represents the money Cigna has spent fixing problems with its Medicare Advantage plans, as well as the value of the thousands of members Cigna has lost during Medicare's enrollment period for this year. In 2015, Cigna collected $6.1 billion in Medicare Advantage revenue from the federal government.

Background: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services levied sanctions on Cigna last January after discovering its Medicare Advantage plans had major deficiencies — such as inappropriately denying care and prescription drugs. As a penalty, Cigna was banned from marketing or enrolling people into its Medicare Advantage plans and ordered to clean up its act.

There still is no timeline for when Cigna will remedy all of its problems. Cigna didn't respond to requests for comment.

Why it matters: Medicare Advantage, the private version of Medicare that has encountered many problems over the years, is expected to grow heavily in the coming years regardless of what happens to Obamacare because it has garnered bipartisan support. This kind of financial loss in a vital business could set back Cigna, especially if its deal with Anthem is nixed.

It could have been worse: Last March, the federal government quietly spared Cigna from losing up to $350 million in Medicare Advantage bonuses.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - World

17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

American officials and authorities in Haiti are working to try and free 17 hostages from a U.S.-based missionary group who were kidnapped in Port-au-Prince over the weekend, AP reported Monday.

The latest: Christian Aid Ministries said in a statement Sunday, "The group of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes five men, seven women, and five children." The Ohio-based organization said they were on a trip to visit an orphanage when they were kidnapped Saturday.

China's economic growth slows

A worker assembles heavy truck engines in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, on Monday. Photo: Long We/Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

China's economy grew 4.9% in the third quarter of 2021 compared with a year earlier, the country's National Bureau of Statistics announced Monday.

Why it matters: The gross domestic product growth in the July-September period in the world’s second-largest economy marked the "weakest pace since the third quarter of 2020 and slowing from 7.9% in the second quarter," Reuters notes.

5 hours ago - World

Former spy Steele defends controversial Trump Russia dossier

Former U.K. intelligence officer Christopher Steele arrives at the High Court in London in July 2020. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

The author of the "Steele Dossier," containing unverified claims about former President Trump told ABC News he stands by his controversial report, according to excerpts from an upcoming documentary released Sunday.

Why it matters: The FBI drew on former U.K. intelligence officer Christopher Steele's dossier as part of its investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged links to Russia's government, which led to former special counsel Robert Mueller's probe.