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Centene increases profits, enrollment

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Membership gains helped Centene make money in the second quarter in spite of a 19 percent increase in medical costs.

Enrollment at the Medicaid plan manager climbed by more than 12 percent.

The company expanded its presence in Mississippi, gained members in Texas, and added contracts in Kansas, Missouri and Washington.

Medicaid is a state-run government health program for poor people and people with disabilities. States typically hire private insurers to administer the coverage.

Centene is reporting $39 million in net income for the second quarter on $2.7 billion in revenue, compared with a $35 million net loss on $2.6 billion in revenue for the second quarter of 2012.

A year ago, Centene was struggling with a spike in medical costs in Kentucky and Texas and from its Celtic individual health business.

Centene’s medical costs climbed to $2.24 billion from $1.89 billion.

The insurer said earlier this month that it is trying to cope with high medical expenses in Kentucky by leaving that state’s Medicaid program.

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