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Centene Lets Individual Major Medical Enrollment Rise

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Centene Corp. is still happy with its commercial individual major medical insurance business, and it’s still letting individual major medical enrollment rise.

The St. Louis-based insurer gave some information about its major medical insurance operations Tuesday, when it released earnings for the third quarter.

(Related: Health Care CEOs Hope ‘Idiocy’ Will Blow Over)

The company, which is best known as a manager of Medicaid plans and other plans aimed at low-income people, is reporting $95 million in net income for the quarter on $19 billion in revenue, up from $19 million in net income on $16 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2018.

The company ended the quarter providing or administering major medical coverage for 15 million people, up from 14 million people a year earlier.

Medicare plan enrollment fell to 404,500, from 417,400, but the company is in the process of acquiring another carrier, WellCare, that’s a major player in the Medicare plan market.

Centene has been selling individual coverage through the Affordable Care Act public exchange system, and it also ended up with additional commercial health insurance business when it acquired Health Net.

The company’s enrollment in ACA public exchange program plans increased to 1.9 million, from 1.5 million a year earlier.

Overall commercial enrollment increased to 2.4 million, from 2.1 million.

The figures appear to imply that commercial enrollment away from the ACA public exchange system fell to about 500,000, from about 600,000.

Michael Neidorff, the company’s president, said during a conference call with securities analysts that the commercial business ratio of claims to revenue increased between the second quarter and the third quarter, but that the increase is due an issue the company understands: enrollees’ spending taking a quarter or two to go past the enrollees’ deductibles.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services calls, the program that provides exchange services for states that choose not to run their own ACA public exchange programs, the Marketplace.

“The Marketplace business continued to perform well in the third quarter, consistent with our expectations,” Neidorff said.

Centene faces the possibility that a federal court ruling could throw out the current ACA framework.

Neidorff said Centene remains focused on adding value to communities under various regulatory environments.

“We remain focused on delivering against our vision, which is to be the leading provider of government-sponsored health care,” Neidorff said. “We believe the demand for affordable high quality healthcare coverage will remain at constant and durable driver of long term growth for us.”

— Read Centene to Pay $15 Billion to Join the Medicare Gorilla Tableon ThinkAdvisor.

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