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EXCEL - IDEA: XBRL DOCUMENT - CENTENE CORPFinancial_Report.xls
EX-23 - CONSENT - CENTENE CORPexhibit23.htm
EX-3.2 - BY-LAW AMENDMENT - CENTENE CORPexhibit32.htm
EX-21 - LIST OF SUBSIDIARIES - CENTENE CORPexhibit21.htm
EX-31.1 - CERTIFICATION - CENTENE CORPexhibit311.htm
EX-12.1 - RATIO OF EARNINGS TO FIXED CHARGES - CENTENE CORPexhibit121.htm
EX-32.2 - CERTIFICATION - CENTENE CORPexhibit322.htm
EX-31.2 - CERTIFICATION - CENTENE CORPexhibit312.htm
EX-32.1 - CERTIFICATION - CENTENE CORPexhibit321.htm


UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
 Form 10-K
(Mark One)
x
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014
or
 o TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
For the transition period from             to             
 Commission file number: 001-31826
 Centene Corporation
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware
 
42-1406317
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)
 
 
 
7700 Forsyth Boulevard
 
 
St. Louis, Missouri
 
63105
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
 Registrant's telephone number, including area code: (314) 725-4477
 Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
 
Common Stock, $0.001 Par Value
 
New York Stock Exchange
Title of Each Class
 
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
 Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None
(Title of Each Class)
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes o    No  x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was require to submit and post such files). Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant's knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  x
 Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer”, “accelerated filer” and “small reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
x    Large accelerated filer                          o Accelerated filer    
o    Non-accelerated filer  (do not check if a smaller reporting company)        o Smaller reporting company 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes o No  x
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based upon the last reported sale price of the common stock on the New York Stock Exchange on June 30, 2014, was $4.4 billion.
As of February 20, 2015, the registrant had 118,820,237 shares of common stock issued and outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Proxy Statement for the registrant's 2015 annual meeting of stockholders are incorporated by reference in Part III, Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14.





CENTENE CORPORATION
ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
 
 
PAGE
Part I
Item 1.
  
Item 1A.
 
Item 1B.
 
Item 2.
  
Item 3.
  
Item 4.
 
Part II
Item 5.
  
Item 6.
  
Item 7.
  
Item 7A.
  
Item 8.
  
Item 9.
  
Item 9A.
  
Item 9B.
  
Part III
Item 10.
  
Item 11.
  
Item 12.
  
Item 13.
  
Item 14.
  
Part IV
Item 15.
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 






CAUTIONARY STATEMENT ON FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

All statements, other than statements of current or historical fact, contained in this filing are forward-looking statements.  We have attempted to identify these statements by terminology including “believe,” “anticipate,” “plan,” “expect,” “estimate,” “intend,” “seek,” “target,” “goal,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “can,” “continue” and other similar words or expressions in connection with, among other things, any discussion of future operating or financial performance.  In particular, these statements include statements about our market opportunity, our growth strategy, competition, expected activities and future acquisitions, investments and the adequacy of our available cash resources.  These statements may be found in the various sections of this filing, including those entitled “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” Part I, Item 1A. “Risk Factors,” and Part I, Item 3 “Legal Proceedings.”  Readers are cautioned that matters subject to forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including economic, regulatory, competitive and other factors that may cause our or our industry’s actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.  These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions.

All forward-looking statements included in this filing are based on information available to us on the date of this filing and we undertake no obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements included in this filing, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date of this filing.  Actual results may differ from projections or estimates due to a variety of important factors, including:

our ability to accurately predict and effectively manage health benefits and other operating expenses and reserves;
competition;
membership and revenue projections;
timing of regulatory contract approval;
changes in healthcare practices;
changes in federal or state laws or regulations, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act and any regulations enacted thereunder;
changes in expected contract start dates;
changes in expected closing dates, estimated purchase price and accretion for acquisitions;
inflation;
foreign currency fluctuations;
provider and state contract changes;
new technologies;
advances in medicine;
reduction in provider payments by governmental payors;
major epidemics;
disasters and numerous other factors affecting the delivery and cost of healthcare;
the expiration, cancellation or suspension of our Medicare or Medicaid managed care contracts by federal or state governments;
the outcome of pending legal proceedings;
availability of debt and equity financing, on terms that are favorable to us; and
general economic and market conditions.

Item 1A “Risk Factors” of Part I of this filing contains a further discussion of these and other important factors that could cause actual results to differ from expectations. We disclaim any current intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Due to these important factors and risks, we cannot give assurances with respect to our future premium levels or our ability to control our future medical costs.







PART I
ITEM 1. Business.

OVERVIEW

We are a diversified, multi-national healthcare enterprise that provides programs and services to government sponsored healthcare programs, focusing on under-insured and uninsured individuals. We provide member-focused services through locally based staff by assisting in accessing care, coordinating referrals to related health and social services and addressing member concerns and questions. We also provide education and outreach programs to inform and assist members in accessing quality, appropriate healthcare services. We believe our local approach, including member and provider services, enables us to provide accessible, quality, culturally-sensitive healthcare coverage to our communities. Our health management, educational and other initiatives are designed to help members best utilize the healthcare system to ensure they receive appropriate, medically necessary services and effective management of routine, severe and chronic health problems, resulting in better health outcomes. We combine our decentralized local approach for care with a centralized infrastructure of support functions such as finance, information systems and claims processing.

We operate in two segments: Managed Care and Specialty Services. Our Managed Care segment provides health plan coverage to individuals through government subsidized programs, including Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Long Term Care (LTC), Foster Care, dual-eligible individuals (Duals) and the Supplemental Security Income Program, also known as the Aged, Blind or Disabled Program, or collectively ABD. Beginning in 2014, our Managed Care segment also provides health plan coverage to individuals covered through federally-facilitated and state-based Health Insurance Marketplaces (HIM). Our Specialty Services segment consists of our specialty companies offering diversified healthcare services and products to state programs, correctional facilities, healthcare organizations, employer groups and other commercial organizations, as well as to our own subsidiaries. For the year ended December 31, 2014, our Managed Care and Specialty Services segments accounted for 89% and 11%, respectively, of our total external premium and service revenues.

Our subsidiary, Kentucky Spirit Health Plan (KSHP), ceased serving members in Kentucky as of July 6, 2013. Accordingly, the results of operations for KSHP are classified as discontinued operations for all periods presented in our consolidated financial statements. The following discussion and analysis, with the exception of cash flow information, is presented in the context of continuing operations unless otherwise identified.

Our managed care membership totaled 4.1 million as of December 31, 2014. For the year ended December 31, 2014, our premium and service revenues and net earnings from continuing operations attributable to Centene were $15.7 billion and $268 million, respectively, and our total cash flow from operations was $1.2 billion.

On February 2, 2015, the Board of Directors declared a two-for-one split of Centene's common stock in the form of a 100% stock dividend distributed February 19, 2015 to stockholders of record on February 12, 2015. All share, per share and stock price information presented in this Form 10-K has been adjusted for the two-for-one stock split.

Our initial health plan commenced operations in Wisconsin in 1984. We were organized in Wisconsin in 1993 as a holding company for our initial health plan and reincorporated in Delaware in 2001. Our corporate office is located at 7700 Forsyth Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri 63105, and our telephone number is (314) 725-4477. Our stock is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “CNC.”

INDUSTRY

We provide our services primarily through Medicaid, CHIP, LTC, Foster Care, ABD, Medicare and other state and federal programs for the uninsured. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, estimated the total Medicaid and CHIP market was approximately $421 billion in 2012, and estimate the market will grow to $919 billion by 2023. According to the most recent information provided by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Medicaid spending increased by 10.2% in fiscal 2014 and states appropriated an increase of 14.3% for Medicaid in fiscal 2015 budgets.


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Established in 1965, Medicaid is the largest publicly funded program in the United States, and provides health insurance to low-income families and individuals with disabilities. Authorized by Title XIX of the Social Security Act, Medicaid is an entitlement program funded jointly by the federal and state governments and administered by the states. The majority of funding is provided at the federal level. Each state establishes its own eligibility standards, benefit packages, payment rates and program administration within federal standards. As a result, there are 56 Medicaid programs - one for each U.S. state, each U.S. territory and the District of Columbia. Eligibility is based on a combination of household income and assets, often determined by an income level relative to the federal poverty level. Historically, children have represented the largest eligibility group. Many states have selected Medicaid managed care as a means of delivering quality healthcare and controlling costs. We refer to these states as mandated managed care states.  

Established in 1972, and authorized by Title XVI of the Social Security Act, ABD covers low-income persons with chronic physical disabilities or behavioral health impairments. ABD beneficiaries represent a growing portion of all Medicaid recipients. In addition, ABD recipients typically utilize more services because of their critical health issues. 

The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 created CHIP to help states expand coverage primarily to children whose families earned too much to qualify for Medicaid, yet not enough to afford private health insurance. Some states include the parents of these children in their CHIP programs. Costs related to the largest eligibility group, children, are primarily composed of pediatrics and family care. These costs tend to be more predictable than those associated with other healthcare issues which predominantly affect the adult population.

A portion of Medicaid beneficiaries are dual-eligible, low-income seniors and people with disabilities who are enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare. According to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, there were approximately 9.6 million dual-eligible enrollees in 2014. These dual-eligible members may receive assistance from Medicaid for Medicaid benefits, such as nursing home care and/or assistance with Medicare premiums and cost sharing. Dual-eligibles also use more services due to their tendency to have more chronic health issues. We serve dual-eligibles through our ABD and LTC programs and through Medicare Special Needs Plans.

While Medicaid programs have directed funds to many individuals who cannot afford or otherwise maintain health insurance coverage, they did not initially address the inefficient and costly manner in which the Medicaid population tends to access healthcare. Medicaid recipients in non-managed care programs typically have not sought preventive care or routine treatment for chronic conditions, such as asthma and diabetes. Rather, they have sought healthcare in hospital emergency rooms, which tends to be more expensive. As a result, many states have found that the costs of providing Medicaid benefits have increased while the medical outcomes for the recipients remained unsatisfactory.

We expect that continued pressure on state Medicaid budgets will cause public policy to recognize the value of managed care as a means of delivering improved health outcomes for Medicaid beneficiaries and effectively controlling costs. A growing number of states have mandated that their Medicaid recipients enroll in managed care plans. Other states are considering moving to a mandated managed care approach. As a result, we believe a significant market opportunity exists for managed care organizations with operations and programs focused on the distinct socio-economic, cultural and healthcare needs of the uninsured population and the Medicaid, CHIP, LTC, Foster Care and ABD populations.

In March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the accompanying Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act collectively referred to as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), were enacted. While the constitutionality of the ACA was subsequently challenged in a number of legal actions, in June 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the ACA, with one limited exception relating to the Medicaid expansion provision. The Supreme Court held that states could not be required to expand Medicaid and risk losing all federal money for their existing Medicaid programs. Under the ACA, Medicaid coverage was expanded to all individuals under age 65 with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level beginning January 1, 2014, subject to the states' elections. The federal government will pay the entire costs for Medicaid coverage for newly eligible beneficiaries for three years, from 2014 through 2016. In 2017, the federal share declines to 95%; in 2018 it is 94%; in 2019 it is 93%; and it will be 90% in 2020 and subsequent years. States may delay Medicaid expansion after 2014.


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Health Insurance Marketplaces are a key component of the ACA and provide an opportunity for individuals and small businesses to obtain health insurance. States have the option of operating their own Marketplace or partnering with the federal government. States choosing neither option will default to a federally-facilitated Marketplace. Premium and cost-sharing subsidies are available to make coverage more affordable and access to Marketplaces is limited to U.S. citizens and legal immigrants. Insurers are required to offer a minimum level of benefits with three levels of coverage that vary based on premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Premium subsidies are provided to families without access to other coverage and with incomes between 100-400% of the federal poverty level to help them purchase insurance through the Marketplaces. These subsidies are offered on a sliding scale basis. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) anticipates that coverage through the exchanges will increase substantially over time as more people respond to subsidies and to penalties for failure to obtain coverage. CBO projects coverage through the exchanges to increase to an average of 13 million in 2015, 24 million in 2016, and 25 million in each year between 2017 and 2024.

OUR COMPETITIVE STRENGTHS

Our multi-national managed care approach is based on the following key attributes:

Strong Historic Operating Performance. We have increased revenues as we have grown in existing markets, expanded into new markets and broadened our product offerings. We entered the Wisconsin market in 1984 as a single health plan and have grown to serve 21 states. Our operating performance has been demonstrated by the following:
 
 
2014
 
2013
 
% Change
2013 - 2014
Total membership
 
4,060,900

 
2,879,800

 
41%
Premium and service revenues ($ in millions)
 
$
15,667

 
$
10,526

 
49%
Diluted earnings per share
 
$
2.23

 
$
1.43

 
56%
Total operating cash flow ($ in millions)
 
$
1,223

 
$
382

 
220%

For the year ended December 31, 2014, premium and service revenues of $15,667 million represented a five year Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 32% and diluted earnings per share of $2.23 represented a five year CAGR of 18%.

Innovative Technology and Scalable Systems. The ability to access data and translate it into meaningful information is essential to operating across a multi-state service area in a cost-effective manner. Our centralized information systems support our core processing functions under a set of integrated databases and are designed to be both replicable and scalable to accommodate organic growth and growth from acquisitions. We continue to enhance our systems in order to leverage the platform we have developed for our existing states for configuration into new states or health plan acquisitions. Our predictive modeling technology enables our medical management operations to proactively case and disease manage specific high risk members. It can recommend medical care opportunities using a mix of company defined algorithms and evidence based medical guidelines. Interventions are determined by the clinical indicators, the ability to improve health outcomes, and the risk profile of members. Our integrated approach helps to assure that consistent sources of claim and member information are provided across all of our health plans. Our membership and claims processing system is capable of expanding to support additional members in an efficient manner.

Expertise in Government Sponsored Programs. For more than 30 years, we have developed a specialized government services expertise that has helped us establish and maintain relationships with members, providers and state governments. We have implemented programs developed to achieve savings for state governments and improve medical outcomes for members by reducing inappropriate emergency room use, inpatient days and high cost interventions, as well as by managing care of chronic illnesses. We work with state agencies in order to maximize the effectiveness of their programs. Our approach is to accomplish this while maintaining adequate levels of provider compensation and protecting our profitability.


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Diversified Business Lines. We continue to broaden our service offerings to address areas that we believe have been traditionally under-served by Medicaid managed care organizations. In addition to our Medicaid and Medicaid-related managed care services, our service offerings include behavioral health management, care management software, correctional healthcare services, dental benefits management, HIM, in-home health services, life and health management, managed vision, pharmacy benefits management, specialty pharmacy and telehealth services. Through the utilization of a multi-business line approach, we are able to improve the quality of care, improve outcomes, diversify our revenues and help control our medical costs.

Localized Approach with Centralized Support Infrastructure. We take a localized approach to managing our subsidiaries, including provider and member services. This approach enables us to facilitate access by our members to high quality, culturally sensitive healthcare services. Our systems and procedures have been designed to address these community-specific challenges through outreach, education, transportation and other member support activities. For example, our community outreach programs work with our members and their communities to promote health and self-improvement through employment and education on how best to access care. We complement this localized approach with a centralized infrastructure of support functions such as finance, information systems and claims processing, which allows us to minimize general and administrative expenses and to integrate and realize synergies from acquisitions. We believe this combined approach allows us to efficiently integrate new business opportunities in both Medicaid and specialty services while maintaining our local accountability and improved access.

Quality and Innovation. Our innovative medical management programs focus on improving quality of care in areas that have the greatest impact on our members. We concentrate on serving the whole person to impact outcomes and costs. We recognize the importance of member-focused delivery of quality managed care services and have developed award winning education and outreach programs including the CentAccount program, Start Smart For Your Baby, and MemberConnections.

 OUR BUSINESS STRATEGY

Our objective is to become the leading multi-national healthcare enterprise focusing on the uninsured and under-insured population through government sponsored healthcare initiatives. We intend to achieve this objective by implementing the following key components of our strategy: 


Increase Penetration of Existing State Markets. We seek to continue to increase our Medicaid membership in states in which we currently operate through alliances with key providers, outreach efforts, development and implementation of community-specific products and acquisitions. For example, in 2014, we expanded our health plan in Florida with an expanded Medicaid managed care contract.

Diversify Business Lines. We seek to broaden our business lines into areas that complement our existing business to enable us to grow and diversify our revenue. We are constantly evaluating new opportunities for expansion both domestically and abroad. For instance, in 2014, we acquired U.S. Medical Management, a management services organization and provider of in-home health services for high acuity populations. We employ a disciplined acquisition strategy that is based on defined criteria including internal rate of return, accretion to earnings per share, market leadership and compatibility with our information systems. We engage our executives in the relevant operational units or functional areas to ensure consistency between the diligence and integration process.

Address Emerging State Needs. We work to assist the states in which we operate in addressing the operating challenges they face. We seek to assist the states in balancing premium rates, benefit levels, member eligibility, policies and practices, provider compensation and minimizing fraud and abuse. By helping states structure an appropriate level and range of Medicaid, CHIP and specialty services, we seek to ensure that we are able to continue to provide those services on terms that achieve targeted gross margins, provide an acceptable return and grow our business.

Develop and Acquire Additional Markets. We continue to leverage our experience to identify and develop new domestic and international markets by seeking both to acquire existing business and to build our own operations. Domestically, we focus expansion in states where Medicaid recipients are mandated to enroll in managed care organizations because we believe member enrollment levels are more predictable in these states. In addition, we focus on states where managed care programs can help address states' financial needs. For example, in 2013, we began managing care for Medicaid members in California, Kansas and New Hampshire. In 2014, we entered the international market with our investment in Ribera Salud, a Spanish health management group.

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Leverage Established Infrastructure to Enhance Operating Efficiencies. We intend to continue to invest in infrastructure to further drive efficiencies in operations and to add functionality to improve the service provided to members and other organizations at a low cost. Information technology, or IT, investments complement our overall efficiency goals by increasing the automated processing of transactions and growing the base of decision-making analytical tools. Our centralized functions and common systems enable us to add members and markets quickly and economically.

Maintain Operational Discipline. We seek to operate in markets that allow us to meet our internal metrics including membership growth, plan size, market leadership and operating efficiency. We use multiple techniques to monitor and reduce our medical costs, including on-site hospital review by staff nurses and involvement of medical management in significant cases. Our executive dashboard is utilized to quickly identify cost drivers and medical trends. Our management team regularly evaluates the financial impact of proposed changes in provider relationships, contracts, changes in membership and mix of members, potential state rate changes and cost reduction initiatives. We may divest contracts or health plans in markets where the state's Medicaid environment, over a long term basis, does not allow us to meet our targeted performance levels.  For example, as a result of lower than anticipated financial performance, in July 2013, we terminated our Kentucky Medicaid managed care contract with the Commonwealth of Kentucky.


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We have subsidiaries offering healthcare services in each state we serve. The table below provides summary data for the state markets we currently serve:
State
 
Local Plan Name
 
First Year of Operations Under the Company
 
Counties Served at December 31, 2014
 
Managed Care Membership at
December 31, 2014
Arizona
 
Bridgeway Health Solutions
 
2006
 
6
 
7,000

Arizona
 
Cenpatico of Arizona
 
2005
 
8
 
197,000

Arkansas
 
Arkansas Health and Wellness Solutions
 
2014
 
75
 
38,400

California
 
California Health and Wellness
 
2013
 
19
 
163,900

Florida
 
Sunshine Health
 
2009
 
67
 
425,700

Georgia
 
Peach State Health Plan
 
2006
 
159
 
389,100

Illinois
 
IlliniCare Health
 
2011
 
12
 
87,800

Indiana
 
Managed Health Services
 
1995
 
92
 
197,700

Kansas
 
Sunflower State Health Plan
 
2013
 
105
 
143,300

Louisiana
 
Louisiana Healthcare Connections
 
2012
 
64
 
152,900

Massachusetts
 
CeltiCare Health
 
2009
 
14
 
37,900

Massachusetts
 
Massachusetts Partnership for Correctional Healthcare
 
2013
 
N/A
 
10,500

Minnesota
 
Centurion of Minnesota
 
2014
 
N/A
 
9,500

Mississippi
 
Magnolia Health
 
2011
 
82
 
108,700

Missouri
 
Home State Health
 
2012
 
54
 
71,000

New Hampshire
 
New Hampshire Healthy Families
 
2013
 
10
 
62,700

Ohio
 
Buckeye Health Plan
 
2004
 
88
 
280,100

South Carolina
 
Absolute Total Care
 
2007
 
46
 
109,700

Tennessee
 
Centurion of Tennessee
 
2013
 
N/A
 
21,000

Texas
 
Superior HealthPlan
 
1999
 
254
 
971,000

Vermont
 
Centurion Managed Care
 
2015
 
N/A
 

Washington
 
Coordinated Care
 
2012
 
35
 
194,400

Wisconsin
 
MHS Health Wisconsin
 
1984
 
51
 
83,200

Total at-risk membership
 
3,762,500

Non-risk membership
 
298,400

Total
 
4,060,900


Substantially all of our revenue is derived from operations within the United States and its territories, and all of the Company's long lived assets are based in the United States and its territories. We generally receive a fixed premium per member per month pursuant to our state contracts. Our medical costs have a seasonality component due to cyclical illness, for example cold and flu season, resulting in higher medical expenses beginning in the fourth quarter and continuing throughout the first quarter of the following year. Our managed care subsidiaries in Texas and Florida had revenues from their respective state governments that each exceeded 10% of our consolidated total revenues in 2014.

MANAGED CARE

Benefits to States  

Our ability to establish and maintain a leadership position in the markets we serve results primarily from our demonstrated success in providing quality care while reducing and managing costs, and from our specialized programs in working with state governments. Among the benefits we are able to provide to the states with which we contract are:



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Significant cost savings and budget predictability compared to state paid reimbursement for services. We bring experience relating to quality of care improvement methods, utilization management procedures, an efficient claims payment system, and provider performance reporting, as well as managers and staff experienced in using these key elements to improve the quality of and access to care. We generally receive a contracted premium on a per member basis and are responsible for the medical costs and as a result, provide budget predictability.

Data-driven approaches to balance cost and verify eligibility. We seek to ensure effective outreach procedures for new members, then educate them and ensure they receive needed services as quickly as possible. Our IT department has created mapping/translation programs for loading membership and linking membership eligibility status to all of Centene's subsystems. We utilize predictive modeling technology to proactively case and disease manage specific high risk members. In addition, we have developed Centelligence, our enterprise data warehouse system to provide a seamless flow of data across our organization, enabling providers and case managers to access information, apply analytical insight and make informed decisions.

Establishment of realistic and meaningful expectations for quality deliverables. We have collaborated with state agencies in redefining benefits, eligibility requirements and provider fee schedules with the goal of maximizing the number of individuals covered through Medicaid.

Managed care expertise in government subsidized programs. Our expertise in Medicaid has helped us establish and maintain strong relationships with our constituent communities of members, providers and state governments. We provide access to services through local providers and staff that focus on the cultural norms of their individual communities. To that end, systems and procedures have been designed to address community-specific challenges through outreach, education, transportation and other member support activities.

Improved quality and medical outcomes. We have implemented programs developed to improve the quality of healthcare delivered to our members including Start Smart for your Baby, Living Well With Sickle Cell and The CentAccount Program.

Timely payment of provider claims. We are committed to ensuring that our information systems and claims payment systems meet or exceed state requirements. We continuously endeavor to update our systems and processes to improve the timeliness of our provider payments.

Provider outreach and programs. Our health plans have adopted a physician-driven approach where network providers are actively engaged in developing and implementing healthcare delivery policies and strategies. We prepare provider comparisons on a severity adjusted basis. This approach is designed to eliminate unnecessary costs, improve services to members and simplify the administrative burdens placed on providers.

Responsible collection and dissemination of utilization data. We gather utilization data from multiple sources, allowing for an integrated view of our members' utilization of services. These sources include medical, vision and behavioral health claims and encounter data, pharmacy data, dental vendor claims and authorization data from the authorization and case management system utilized by us to coordinate care.

Timely and accurate reporting. Our information systems have reporting capabilities which have been instrumental in identifying the need for new and/or improved healthcare and specialty programs. For state agencies, our reporting capability is important in demonstrating an auditable program.

Fraud and abuse prevention. We have several systems in place to help identify, detect and investigate potential waste, abuse and fraud including pre and post payment review software.  We collaborate with state and federal agencies and assist with investigation requests. We use nationally recognized standards to benchmark our processes. 

Member Programs and Services

We recognize the importance of member-focused delivery of quality managed care services. Our locally-based staff assists members in accessing care, coordinating referrals to related health and social services and addressing member concerns and questions. While covered healthcare benefits vary from state to state, our health plans generally provide the following services:

primary and specialty physician care
inpatient and outpatient hospital care
emergency and urgent care
 

prenatal care
laboratory and x-ray services
home health and durable medical equipment


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behavioral health and substance abuse services
24-hour nurse advice line
transportation assistance
vision care
dental care
immunizations

 
prescriptions and limited over-the-counter drugs
specialty pharmacy
therapies
social work services
care coordination


We also provide the following education and outreach programs to inform, assist and incentivize members in accessing quality, appropriate healthcare services in an efficient manner. Many of these programs have been recognized with awards for their excellence in education, outreach and/or case management techniques including Case In Point, Hermes Awards, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Health Information Awards.

Start Smart For Your Baby, or Start Smart, is our award winning prenatal and infant health program designed to increase the percentage of pregnant women receiving early prenatal care, reduce the incidence of low birth weight babies, identify high-risk pregnancies, increase participation in the federal Women, Infant and Children program, prevent hospital admissions in the first year of life and increase well-child visits.

Connections Plus is a cell phone program developed for high-risk members who have limited or no access to a safe, reliable telephone.  This program seeks to eliminate lack of safe, reliable access to a telephone as a barrier to coordinating care, thus reducing avoidable adverse events such as inappropriate emergency room utilization, hospital admissions and premature birth. 

MemberConnections is a community face-to-face outreach and education program designed to create a link between the member and the provider and help identify potential challenges or risk elements to a member's health, such as nutritional challenges and health education shortcomings. 

The ScriptAssist for Hepatitis C Adherence Program seeks to empower patients towards Hepatitis C virus treatment success through a series of telephonic interventions. Goals of the program include preventing premature treatment discontinuation due to medication side effects and access to therapy. NurseWise clinicians and AcariaHealth patient care coordinators collaborate throughout a patient’s treatment course to ensure appropriate therapy management and regimen access.

Health Initiatives for Children is aimed at educating child members on a variety of health topics. In order to empower and educate children, we have partnered with a nationally recognized children's author to develop our own children's book series on topics such as obesity prevention and healthy eating, asthma, diabetes, foster care, the ills of smoking, anti-bullying and heart health. 

Health Initiatives for Teens is aimed at empowering, educating and reinforcing life skills with our teenage members. We have developed an educational series that addresses health issues, dealing with chronic diseases including diabetes and asthma, as well as teen pregnancy.

Living Well with Sickle Cell is our innovative program that assists with coordination of care for our sickle cell members. Our program ensures that sickle cell members have established a medical home and work on strategies to reduce unnecessary emergency room visits through proper treatment to control symptoms and chronic complications, as well as promote self-management.

My Route for Health is our adult educational series used with our case management and disease management programs. The topics of this series include how to manage asthma, COPD, diabetes, heart disease and HIV.

Nurtur Diabetes Program is an innovative program that is a collaboration with our life and health management subsidiary, Nurtur, and our health plans that targets diabetic patients and educates them on their disease state.

Community Health Record, our patient-centric electronic database, collects patient demographic data, clinician visit records, dispensed medications, vital sign history, lab results, allergy charts, and immunization data.  Providers can directly input additional or updated patient data and documentation into the database.  All information is accessible anywhere, anytime to all authorized users, including health plan staff, greatly facilitating coordinated care among providers. 


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The CentAccount Program offers members financial incentives for performing certain healthy behaviors.  The incentives are delivered through a restricted-use prepaid debit card.  This incentive-based approach effectively increases the utilization of preventive services while strengthening the relationships between members and their primary care providers.

The Asthma Management Program integrates a hands-on approach with a flexible outreach methodology that can be customized to suit different age groups and populations affected by asthma.  Working through Nurtur, we provide proactive identification of members, stratification into appropriate levels of intervention including home visits, culturally sensitive education, and robust outcome reporting.  The program also includes aggressive care coordination to ensure patients have basic services such as transportation to the doctor, electricity to power the nebulizer, and a clean, safe home environment. 

Fluvention is an outreach program aimed at educating members on preventing the transmission of the influenza virus by encouraging members to get the seasonal influenza vaccines and take everyday precautions to prevent illness.

Preventive Care Programs are designed to educate our members on the benefits of Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment, or EPSDT, services.  We have a systematic program of communicating, tracking, outreach, reporting and follow-through that promotes state EPSDT programs.

Life and Health Management Programs are designed to help members understand their disease and treatment plans and improve their wellness in a cost effective manner.  These programs address medical conditions that are common within the Medicaid population such as asthma, diabetes and pregnancy. 

Providers  

For each of our service areas, we establish a provider network consisting of primary and specialty care physicians, hospitals and ancillary providers. As of December 31, 2014, we contracted with over 59,000 primary care physicians, 178,000 specialty care physicians and 2,000 hospitals.

Our network of primary care physicians is a critical component in care delivery, management of costs and the attraction and retention of new members. Primary care physicians include family and general practitioners, pediatricians, internal medicine physicians and obstetricians and gynecologists. Specialty care physicians provide medical care to members generally upon referral by the primary care physicians. Specialty care physicians include, but are not limited to, orthopedic surgeons, cardiologists and otolaryngologists. We also provide education and outreach programs to inform and assist members in accessing quality, appropriate healthcare services. 

Our health plans facilitate access to healthcare services for our members primarily through contracts with our providers. Our contracts with primary and specialty care physicians and hospitals usually are for one to two-year periods and renew automatically for successive one-year terms, but generally are subject to termination by either party upon 90 to 120 days prior written notice. In the absence of a contract, we typically pay providers at state Medicaid reimbursement levels. We pay hospitals under a variety of methods, including fee-for-service, capitation arrangements, per diems, diagnostic related grouping and case rates. We pay physicians under a fee-for-service, capitation arrangement, or risk-sharing performance-based arrangement. In addition, we are governed by state prompt payment policies. 

Under our fee-for-service contracts with physicians, particularly specialty care physicians, we pay a negotiated fee for covered services. This model is characterized as having no financial risk for the physician. In addition, this model requires management oversight because our total cost may increase as the units of services increase or as more expensive services replace less expensive services. We have prior authorization procedures in place that are intended to make sure that certain high cost diagnostic and other services are medically appropriate.

Under our capitated contracts, primary care physicians are paid a monthly fee for each of our members assigned to his or her practice for all ambulatory care. In return for this payment, these physicians provide all primary care and preventive services, including primary care office visits and EPSDT services, and are at risk for all costs associated with such services. If these physicians also provide non-capitated services to their assigned members, they may receive payment under fee-for-service arrangements at standard Medicaid rates.

Under risk-sharing performance-based arrangements, physicians are paid under a capitated or fee-for-service arrangement. The arrangement, however, contains provisions for additional bonus to the physicians or reimbursement from the physicians based upon cost and quality measures.

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We work with physicians to help them operate efficiently by providing financial and utilization information, physician and patient educational programs and disease and medical management programs. Our programs are also designed to help the physicians coordinate care outside of their offices.

We believe our collaborative approach with physicians gives us a competitive advantage in entering new markets. Our physicians serve on local committees that assist us in implementing preventive care programs, managing costs and improving the overall quality of care delivered to our members, while also simplifying the administrative burdens on our providers. This approach has enabled us to strengthen our provider networks through improved physician recruitment and retention that, in turn, have helped to increase our membership base. The following are among the services we provide to support physicians:
  
Customized Utilization Reports provide certain of our contracted physicians with information that enables them to run their practices more efficiently and focuses them on specific patient needs. For example, quarterly detail reports update physicians on their status within their risk pools. Equivalency reports provide physicians with financial comparisons of capitated versus fee-for-service arrangements.

Case Management Support helps the physician coordinate specialty care and ancillary services for patients with complex conditions and direct members to appropriate community resources to address both their health and socio-economic needs.

Web-based Claims and Eligibility Resources have been implemented to provide physicians with on-line access to perform claims and eligibility inquiries. 

Our contracted physicians also benefit from several of the services offered to our members, including the MemberConnections, EPSDT case management and health management programs. For example, the MemberConnections staff facilitates doctor/patient relationships by connecting members with physicians, the EPSDT programs encourage routine checkups for children with their physicians and the health management programs assist physicians in managing their patients with chronic disease.

Where appropriate, our health plans contract with our specialty services organizations to provide services and programs such as behavioral health management, care management software, dental benefits management, in-home health services, life and health management, managed vision, pharmacy benefits management, specialty pharmacy and telehealth services. When necessary, we also contract with third-party providers on a negotiated fee arrangement for physical therapy, home healthcare, dental, diagnostic laboratory tests, x-ray examinations, transportation, ambulance services and durable medical equipment.

Quality Management 

Our medical management programs focus on improving quality of care in areas that have the greatest impact on our members. We employ strategies, including health management and complex case management, that are adjusted for implementation in our individual markets by a system of physician committees chaired by local physician leaders. This process promotes physician participation and support, both critical factors in the success of any clinical quality improvement program.

We have implemented specialized information systems to support our medical quality management activities. Information is drawn from our data warehouse, clinical databases and our membership and claims processing system to identify opportunities to improve care and to track the outcomes of the interventions implemented to achieve those improvements. Some examples of these intervention programs include:

appropriate leveling of care for neonatal intensive care unit hospital admissions, other inpatient hospital admissions, and observation admissions, in accordance with Interqual criteria

tightening of our pre-authorization list and more stringent review of durable medical equipment and injectibles

Emergency room program designed to collaboratively work with hospitals to steer non-emergency care away from the costly emergency room setting (through patient education, on-site alternative urgent care settings, etc.)

increase emphasis on case management and clinical rounding where case managers are nurses or social workers who are employed by the health plan to assist selected members with the coordination of healthcare services in order to meet a member's specific healthcare needs


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incorporation of disease management, which is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to chronic illnesses such as asthma and diabetes

Start Smart For Your Baby, a prenatal case management program aimed at helping women with high-risk pregnancies deliver full-term, healthy infants

Pharmacy treatment compliance programs are driven by clinical policy and focus on identifying the appropriate medication in the correct dose, delivered in the most efficient format and utilized for the correct duration.

We provide reporting on a regular basis using our data warehouse. State and Health Employer Data and Information Set, or HEDIS, reporting constitutes the core of the information base that drives our clinical quality performance efforts. This reporting is monitored by Plan Quality Improvement Committees and our corporate medical management team. 

In an effort to ensure the quality of our provider networks, we undertake to verify the credentials and background of our providers using standards that are supported by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, or NCQA.

It is our objective to provide access to the highest quality of care for our members.  As a validation of that objective, we often pursue accreditation by independent organizations that have been established to promote healthcare quality.  The NCQA Health Plan Accreditation and URAC Health Plan Accreditation programs provide unbiased, third party reviews to verify and publicly report results on specific quality care metrics.  While we have achieved or are pursuing accreditation for all of our plans, accreditation is only one measure of our ability to provide access to quality care for our members. We currently have 15 health plans and four specialty companies with NCQA accreditation.

SPECIALTY SERVICES 

Our specialty services are a key component of our healthcare enterprise and complement our core Managed Care business. Specialty services diversify our revenue stream, provide higher quality health outcomes to our membership and others, and assist in controlling costs. Our specialty services are provided primarily through the following businesses: 

Behavioral Health Management. Cenpatico manages behavioral healthcare for members via a contracted network of providers. Cenpatico works with providers to determine the best services to help people overcome mental illness and lead productive lives. Our networks feature a full range of services and levels of care to help people with mental illness reach their recovery and wellness goals. In addition, we operate school-based programs that focus on students with special needs and also provide speech and other therapy services.

Care Management Software. Casenet is a software provider of innovative care management solutions that automate the clinical, administrative and technical components of care management programs, which is available for sale to third parties and used by our health plans.

Correctional Healthcare Services. Centurion, our joint venture subsidiary with MHM Services Inc., provides comprehensive healthcare services to individuals incarcerated in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Tennessee state correctional facilities. Beginning in February 2015, Centurion also began operating under a new contract with the State of Vermont, Department of Corrections.

Dental Benefits Management. Dental Health & Wellness is a dental benefit manager dedicated to improving oral health through a contracted network of dental healthcare providers.

In-Home Health Services. U.S. Medical Management, our majority owned subsidiary acquired in January 2014, provides in-home health services for high acuity populations.

Life and Health Management. Nurtur specializes in implementing life and health management programs that encourage healthy behaviors, promote healthier workplaces, improve workforce and societal productivity and reduce healthcare costs. Health risk appraisals, biometric screenings, online and telephonic wellness programs, disease management and work-life/employee assistance services are areas of focus. Nurtur uses telephonic health and work/life balance coaching, in-home and online interaction and informatics processes to deliver effective clinical outcomes, enhanced patient-provider satisfaction and lower overall healthcare cost.


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Managed Vision. OptiCare administers routine and medical surgical eye care benefits via its own contracted national network of eye care providers. OptiCare clients include Medicaid, Medicare, and commercial health plans, as well as employer groups. OptiCare has been providing vision network services for over 25 years and offers a variety of plan designs to meet the individual needs of its clients and members.

Pharmacy Benefits Management. US Script offers progressive pharmacy benefits management services that are specifically designed to improve quality of care while containing costs. This is achieved through a low cost strategy that helps optimize clients' pharmacy benefits.  Services include claims processing, pharmacy network management, benefit design consultation, drug utilization review, formulary and rebate management, mail order pharmacy services, and patient and physician intervention.

Specialty Pharmacy. AcariaHealth offers comprehensive specialized pharmacy benefit services for complex diseases, including Cystic Fibrosis, Hemophilia, Hepatitis C, Infertility, Multiple Sclerosis, Oncology and Rheumatoid Arthritis. AcariaHealth offers specialized care management services in these disease states and enhances the patient care offering, collaboration with providers and the capture of relevant data to measure patient outcomes. AcariaHealth connects patients, physicians, payers and manufacturers to their specialty pharmacy needs.

Telehealth Services. NurseWise provides a toll-free nurse triage line 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 52 weeks per year. Our members call one number and reach bilingual customer service representatives and nursing staff who provide health education, triage advice and offer continuous access to health plan functions. Additionally, our representatives verify eligibility, confirm primary care provider assignments and provide benefit and network referral coordination for members and providers after business hours. Our staff can arrange for urgent pharmacy refills, transportation and qualified behavioral health professionals for crisis stabilization assessments.

CORPORATE COMPLIANCE

Our Corporate Ethics and Compliance Program provides controls by which we assure that our values are reflected in everything we do, further enhancing operations, improving access to quality care and safeguarding against fraud and abuse.

Two standards by which corporate compliance programs in the healthcare industry are measured are the Federal Organizational Sentencing Guidelines and Compliance Program Guidance series issued by the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General, or OIG. Our program contains each of the seven elements suggested by the Sentencing Guidelines and the OIG guidance. These key components are:

written standards of conduct
designation of a corporate compliance officer and compliance committee
effective training and education  
effective lines for reporting and communication  
enforcement of standards through well publicized disciplinary guidelines and actions  
internal monitoring and auditing
prompt response to detected offenses and development of corrective action plans

The goal of the program is to build a culture of ethics and compliance, which is assessed periodically using a diagnostic survey to measure the integrity of the organization. Our internal Corporate Compliance intranet site, accessible to all employees, contains our Business Ethics and Conduct Policy (Code of Conduct), Compliance Program description and resources for employees to report concerns or ask questions. If needed, employees have access to the contact information for the members of our Board of Directors' Audit Committee to report concerns. Our Ethics and Compliance Helpline is a toll-free number and web-based reporting tool operated by a third party independent of the Company and allows employees or other persons to report suspected incidents of misconduct, fraud, abuse or other compliance violations anonymously. Furthermore, the Board of Directors reviews an ethics and compliance report on a quarterly basis.

COMPETITION  

We continue to face varying and increasing levels of competition as we expand in our existing service areas or enter new markets. Federal regulations require at least two competitors in each service area. Healthcare reform may cause a number of commercial managed care organizations to decide to enter or exit the Medicaid market. 


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In our business, our principal competitors for state contracts, members and providers consist of the following types of organizations: 

Medicaid Managed Care Organizations focus on providing healthcare services to Medicaid recipients. These organizations consist of national and regional organizations, as well as not-for-profits and smaller organizations that operate in one city or state and are owned by providers, primarily hospitals.

National and Regional Commercial Managed Care Organizations have Medicaid members in addition to members in private commercial plans. Some of these organizations offer a range of specialty services including pharmacy benefits management, behavioral health management, health management, and nurse triage call support centers.

Primary Care Case Management Programs are programs established by the states through contracts with primary care providers. Under these programs, physicians provide primary care services to Medicaid recipients, as well as limited medical management oversight.     

Accountable Care Organizations are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together to give coordinated high quality care to their patients.

We compete with other managed care organizations and specialty companies for state contracts. In order to grant a contract, state governments consider many factors. These factors include quality of care, financial requirements, an ability to deliver services and establish provider networks and infrastructure. In addition, our specialty companies also compete with other providers, such as disease management companies, individual health insurance companies, and pharmacy benefits managers for non-governmental contracts.

We also compete to enroll new members and retain existing members. People who wish to enroll in a managed healthcare plan or to change healthcare plans typically choose a plan based on the quality of care and services offered, ease of access to services, a specific provider being part of the network and the availability of supplemental benefits.  

We also compete with other managed care organizations to enter into contracts with physicians, physician groups and other providers. We believe the factors that providers consider in deciding whether to contract with us include existing and potential member volume, reimbursement rates, medical management programs, speed of reimbursement and administrative service capabilities. See “Risk Factors - Competition may limit our ability to increase penetration of the markets that we serve.” 

REGULATION

Our operations are regulated at both state and federal levels. Government regulation of the provision of healthcare products and services is a changing area of law that varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Regulatory agencies generally have discretion to issue regulations and interpret and enforce laws and rules. Changes in applicable laws and rules also may occur periodically.

Our regulated subsidiaries are licensed to operate as health maintenance organizations, third party administrators, utilization review organizations, pharmacies, direct care providers and/or insurance companies in their respective states. In each of the jurisdictions in which we operate, we are regulated by the relevant insurance, health and/or human services departments, departments of insurance, boards of pharmacy and other health care providers, and departments of health that oversee the activities of managed care organizations providing or arranging to provide services to Medicaid, Medicare and Health Insurance Marketplace commercial enrollees.  


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The process for obtaining authorization to operate as a managed care organization and provider organizations is complex and requires us to demonstrate to the regulators the adequacy of the health plan's organizational structure, financial resources, utilization review, quality assurance programs, complaint procedures, provider network and procedures for covering emergency medical conditions. Under both state managed care organization statutes and insurance laws, our health plan subsidiaries, as well as our applicable specialty companies, must comply with minimum statutory capital and other financial solvency requirements, such as deposit and surplus requirements. Insurance regulations may also require prior state approval of acquisitions of other managed care organization businesses and the payment of dividends, as well as notice for loans or the transfer of funds. Our subsidiaries are also subject to periodic state and federal reporting requirements. In addition, each health plan and individual health care provider must meet criteria to secure the approval of state regulatory authorities before implementing operational changes, including the development of new product offerings and, in some states, the expansion of service areas. 

States have adopted a number of regulations that may affect our business and results of operations. These regulations in certain states include:

premium taxes or similar assessments
stringent prompt payment laws
disclosure requirements regarding provider fee schedules and coding procedures
programs to monitor and supervise the activities and financial solvency of provider groups

We are regulated as an insurance holding company and are subject to the insurance holding company acts of the states in which our insurance company and HMO subsidiaries are domiciled. These acts contain certain reporting requirements as well as restrictions on transactions between an insurer or HMO and its affiliates. These holding company laws and regulations generally require insurance companies and HMOs within an insurance holding company system to register with the insurance department of each state where they are domiciled and to file with those states' insurance departments reports describing capital structure, ownership, financial condition, intercompany transactions and general business operations. In addition, depending on the size and nature of the transaction, there are various notice and reporting requirements that generally apply to transactions between insurance companies and HMOs and their affiliates within an insurance holding company structure. Some insurance holding company laws and regulations require prior regulatory approval or, in certain circumstances, prior notice of certain material intercompany transfers of assets as well as certain transactions between insurance companies, HMOs, their parent holding companies and affiliates. Among other provisions, state insurance and HMO laws may restrict the ability of our regulated subsidiaries to pay dividends.  

Additionally, the holding company acts of the states in which our subsidiaries are domiciled restrict the ability of any person to obtain control of an insurance company or HMO without prior regulatory approval. Under those statutes, without such approval or an exemption, no person may acquire any voting security of an insurance holding company, which controls an insurance company or HMO, or merge with such a holding company, if as a result of such transaction such person would “control” the insurance holding company. “Control” is generally defined as the direct or indirect power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of a company and is presumed to exist if a person directly or indirectly owns or controls 10% or more of the voting securities of a company.

Our pharmacies must be licensed to do business as pharmacies in the states in which they are located. Our pharmacies must also register with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and individual state controlled substance authorities to dispense controlled substances. In many of the states where our pharmacies deliver pharmaceuticals, there are laws and regulations that require out-of-state mail order pharmacies to register with that state’s board of pharmacy or similar regulatory body. These states generally permit the pharmacy to follow the laws of the state in which the mail order pharmacy is located, although some states require that we also comply with certain laws in that state.

Our health care providers must be licensed to practice medicine and do business as care providers in the state which they are located. In addition, they must be in good standing with the applicable medical board, board of nursing or applicable entity. Furthermore, they cannot be excluded from participation at both state and federal level. Our facilities are periodically reviewed by state departments of health and other regulatory agencies to ensure the environment is safe to provide care.


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State and Federal Contracts

In addition to being a licensed insurance company or health maintenance organization, in order to be a Medicaid managed care organization in each of the states in which we operate, we must operate under a contract with the state's Medicaid agency. States generally use either a formal proposal process, reviewing a number of bidders, or award individual contracts to qualified applicants that apply for entry to the program. We receive monthly payments based on specified capitation rates determined on an actuarial basis. These rates differ by membership category and by state depending on the specific benefits and policies adopted by each state. In addition, several of our Medicaid contracts require us to maintain Medicare Advantage special needs plans, which are regulated by CMS, for dual eligible individuals.

Our state and federal contracts and the regulatory provisions applicable to us generally set forth the requirements for operating in the Medicaid and Medicare sectors, including provisions relating to:

eligibility, enrollment and dis-enrollment processes
covered services
eligible providers
subcontractors
record-keeping and record retention
periodic financial and informational reporting
quality assurance
accreditation
 
health education and wellness and prevention programs
timeliness of claims payment
financial standards
safeguarding of member information
fraud and abuse detection and reporting
grievance procedures
organization and administrative systems


A health plan or individual health insurance provider's compliance with these requirements is subject to monitoring by state regulators and by CMS. A health plan is also subject to periodic comprehensive quality assurance evaluations by a third-party reviewing organization and generally by the insurance department of the jurisdiction that licenses the health plan. A health plan or individual health insurance provider must also submit reports to various regulatory agencies, including quarterly and annual statutory financial statements and utilization reports.

The table below sets forth the terms of our contracts and provides details regarding related renewal or extension and termination provisions. The contracts are subject to termination for cause, an event of default or lack of funding.
Contract
 
Expiration Date
 
Renewal or Extension
 
 
 
 
 
Arizona - Behavioral Health
 
September 30, 2015
 
(1)
Arizona - LTC
 
September 30, 2015
 
Renewable for one additional one-year term.
Arizona - Special Needs Plan (Medicare)
 
December 31, 2015
 
Renewable annually for successive 12-month periods.
California - Medicaid & ABD
 
October 31, 2018
 
Renewable up to three additional one-year terms.
Florida - Medicaid, ABD, LTC & Foster Care
 
December 31, 2018
 
Renewable through the state's recertification process.
Florida - CHIP
 
September 30, 2015
 
May be extended for one additional one-year term.
Florida - Special Needs Plan (Medicare)
 
December 31, 2015
 
Renewable annually for successive 12-month periods.
Georgia - Medicaid & CHIP
 
June 30, 2015
 
Renewable for one additional one-year term.
Georgia - Special Needs Plan (Medicare)
 
December 31, 2015
 
Renewable annually for successive 12-month periods.
Illinois - ABD & LTC
 
April 30, 2016
 
May be extended for up to five additional years.

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Illinois - Duals
 
December 31, 2015
 
Renewable for two additional one-year terms.
Illinois - Medicaid
 
June 30, 2019
 
May be extended for up to five additional years.
Indiana - Medicaid, CHIP & Hybrid (Healthy Indiana Plan)
 
December 31, 2015
 
Renewable for one additional one-year term.
Kansas - Medicaid, ABD, CHIP, LTC & Foster Care
 
December 31, 2015
 
Renewable for two additional one-year terms.
Louisiana - Medicaid, CHIP, ABD & Foster Care
 
January 31, 2018
 
May be extended for up to two additional one-year terms.
Massachusetts - Correctional Healthcare Services
 
June 30, 2018
 
Renewable for two additional one-year terms.
Massachusetts - Medicaid
 
September 30, 2015
 
May be extended for five additional one-year terms.
Minnesota - Correctional Healthcare Services
 
June 30, 2016
 
May be extended for up to two and a half additional years.
Mississippi - Medicaid, ABD & Foster Care
 
June 30, 2017
 
May be extended for up to two additional one-year terms.
Mississippi - CHIP
 
June 30, 2015
 
Renewable through the state's reprocurement process.
Missouri - Medicaid, CHIP & Foster Care
 
June 30, 2015
 
Renewable through the state's reprocurement process.
New Hampshire - Medicaid, CHIP, Foster Care & ABD
 
June 30, 2015
 
Renewable for one additional two-year term.
Ohio - Duals
 
December 31, 2015
 
Renewable for two additional one-year terms.
Ohio - Medicaid, CHIP & ABD
 
June 30, 2015
 
Renewable annually for successive 12-month periods.
Ohio - Special Needs Plan (Medicare)
 
December 31, 2015
 
Renewable annually for successive 12-month periods.
South Carolina - Medicaid & ABD
 
June 30, 2016
 
Renewable through the state's recertification process.
South Carolina - Duals
 
December 31, 2017
 
Renewable through the state's recertification process.
Tennessee - Correctional Healthcare Services
 
August 31, 2016
 
Renewable through the state's reprocurement process.
Texas - ABD Dallas Expansion
 
August 31, 2015
 
May be extended for up to three additional years.
Texas - ABD MRSA
 
August 31, 2017
 
May be extended for up to five additional years.
Texas - CHIP Rural Service Area
 
August 31, 2015
 
May be extended for up to three additional years.
Texas - Foster Care
 
August 31, 2015
 
Renewable through the state's reprocurement process.
Texas - Medicaid, CHIP & ABD
 
August 31, 2015
 
May be extended for up to four and a half additional years.

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Texas - Duals
 
December 31, 2015
 
May be renewed for three additional one-year terms.
Texas - Special Needs Plan (Medicare)
 
December 31, 2015
 
Renewable annually for successive 12-month periods.
Vermont - Correctional Healthcare Services
 
January 31, 2018
 
May be extended for up to two additional one-year terms.
Washington - Medicaid, CHIP, Foster Care & ABD
 
December 31, 2015
 
Renewable through the state's reprocurement process.
Wisconsin - Medicaid, CHIP & ABD
 
December 31, 2015
 
Renewable through the state's recertification process every two years.
Wisconsin - Network Health Plan Subcontract
 
December 31, 2017
 
Renews automatically for successive three-year terms.
Wisconsin - Special Needs Plan (Medicare)
 
December 31, 2015
 
Renewable annually for successive 12-month periods.
(1)
The current contract expires September 2015. In December 2014, the Arizona Department of Health Services/Division of Behavioral Health Services awarded the Southern Arizona Integrated RBHA contract to our Arizona subsidiary, Cenpatico Integrated Care. The contract is expected to have an initial three-year term with two additional two-year renewal options for a potential maximum length of seven years, and is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Marketplace Contracts

In 2014, we began operating under federally facilitated Marketplace contracts with CMS in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas. In 2015, we began operating under additional federally facilitated Marketplace contracts in Illinois and Wisconsin. The federally facilitated contracts expire annually and are renewable upon mutual consent.

In 2014, we also began operating under two state based Marketplace contracts in Massachusetts and Washington that expire annually. The Massachusetts contract has been extended to December 31, 2015 and may be extended for up to one additional one-year term. The Washington contract has been extended through December 31, 2015 and is renewable annually through the state’s recertification process. In addition, we began operating under a state based Marketplace contract with the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Medical Services and the Arkansas Insurance Department to participate in the Medicaid expansion model that Arkansas has adopted (referred to as the "private option") in January 2014. This contract expires December 31, 2015 and may be extended for subsequent and consecutive one-year terms.

HIPAA Omnibus Rule and HITECH

In 1996, Congress enacted the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. We are subject to various federal and state laws and rules regarding the use and disclosure of confidential member information, including HIPAA and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.  HIPAA is designed to improve the portability and continuity of health insurance coverage, simplify the administration of health insurance through standard transactions and ensure the privacy and security of individual health information. Among the main requirements of HIPAA are the Administrative Simplification provisions which include: standards for processing health insurance claims and related transactions (Transactions Standards); requirements for protecting the privacy and limiting the use and disclosure of medical records and other personal health information (Privacy Rule); and standards and specifications for safeguarding personal health information which is maintained, stored or transmitted in electronic format (Security Rule). The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act amended certain provisions of HIPAA and introduced new data security obligations for covered entities and their business associates. HITECH also mandated individual notifications in instances of a data breach, provided enhanced penalties for HIPAA violations, and granted enforcement authority to states' Attorneys General in addition to the HHS Office of Civil Rights. The HIPAA Omnibus Rule is based on the changes under the HITECH Acts and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) which clarifies that genetic information is protected under the HIPAA Privacy Rule and prohibits most health plans from using or disclosing genetic information for underwriting purposes. This Omnibus rule enhances the privacy protections and strengthens the government's ability to enforce the law. The preemption provisions of HIPAA provide that the federal standards will not preempt state laws that are more stringent than the related federal requirements.

The Privacy and Security Rules and HITECH/Omnibus enhancements establish requirements to protect the privacy of medical records and safeguard personal health information maintained and used by healthcare providers, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and their business associates.

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The Security Rule requires healthcare providers, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and their business associates to implement administrative, physical and technical safeguards to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of health information when it is electronically stored, maintained or transmitted. The HITECH Act and Omnibus Rule established a federal requirement for notification when the security of protected health information is breached. In addition, there are state laws that have been adopted to provide for, among other things, private rights of action for breaches of data security and mandatory notification to persons whose identifiable information is obtained without authorization.

The requirements of the Transactions Standards apply to certain healthcare related transactions conducted using “electronic media.” Since “electronic media” is defined broadly to include “transmissions that are physically moved from one location to another using portable data, magnetic tape, disk or compact disk media,” many communications are considered to be electronically transmitted. Under HIPAA, health plans and providers are required to have the capacity to accept and send all covered transactions in a standardized electronic format. Penalties can be imposed for failure to comply with these requirements. The transaction standards have been modified to version 5010 to prepare for the implementation of the ICD-10 coding system. We are planning for an expected transition to ICD-10 in October 2015.

We have implemented processes, policies and procedures to comply with HIPAA, HITECH and the Omnibus Rule, including administrative, technical and physical safeguards to prevent against electronic data breach. We provide education and training for employees specifically designed to help prevent any unauthorized use or access to health information and enhance the reporting of suspected breaches. In addition, our corporate privacy officer and health plan privacy officials handle privacy complaints and serve as resources to employees to address questions or concerns they may have. We periodically review our privacy and security procedures and conduct risk assessments to ensure we promptly identify gaps in our processes.

Other Fraud and Abuse Laws

Investigating and prosecuting healthcare fraud and abuse continues to be a top priority for state and federal law enforcement entities. The focus of these efforts has been directed at participants in public government healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. The laws and regulations relating to fraud and abuse and the requirements applicable to health plans and providers participating in these programs are complex and regularly changing and compliance with them may require substantial resources. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our waste, fraud and abuse detection methods. While we have both prospective and retrospective processes to identify abusive patterns and fraudulent billing, we continue to increase our capabilities to proactively detect inappropriate billing prior to payment.

EMPLOYEES

As of December 31, 2014, we had approximately 13,400 employees. None of our employees are represented by a union. We believe our relationships with our employees are positive.

EXECUTIVE OFFICERS OF THE REGISTRANT

The following table sets forth information regarding our executive officers, including their ages, at February 15, 2015:  
Name
  
Age
  
Position
Michael F. Neidorff
  
72

  
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
K. Rone Baldwin
 
56

 
Executive Vice President, Insurance Group Business Unit
Carol E. Goldman
  
57

  
Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer
Jesse N. Hunter
 
39

 
Executive Vice President, Chief Business Development Officer
Donald G. Imholz
 
62

 
Executive Vice President, Operations and Chief Information Officer
William N. Scheffel
  
61

  
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
Jeffrey A. Schwaneke
 
39

 
Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer
Keith H. Williamson
 
62

 
Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
 

Michael F. Neidorff. Mr. Neidorff has served as our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since May 2004. From May 1996 to May 2004, Mr. Neidorff served as President, Chief Executive Officer and as a member of our Board of Directors. Mr. Neidorff also serves as a director of Brown Shoe Company, Inc., a publicly-traded footwear company with global operations.


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K. Rone Baldwin. Mr. Baldwin has served as our Executive Vice President, Insurance Group Business Unit since December 2012. Prior to joining Centene, he served as Executive Vice President and Business Leader of Group Insurance Business, which included both group health and ancillary product lines, for Guardian Life Insurance Company, which he joined in 2006.

Carol E. Goldman. Ms. Goldman is our Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer and has served in that capacity since June 2007.

Jesse N. Hunter. Mr. Hunter has served as our Executive Vice President, Chief Business Development Officer since December 2012. From February 2012 to December 2012, he served as our Executive Vice President, Operations. He previously served as our Executive Vice President, Corporate Development from April 2008 to February 2012.

Donald G. Imholz. Mr. Imholz is our Executive Vice President, Operations and Chief Information Officer and has served in that capacity since September 2008.

William N. Scheffel. Mr. Scheffel is our Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer and has served in that capacity since May 2009.

Jeffrey A. Schwaneke. Mr. Schwaneke is our Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller and has served in that capacity since July 2008 and has been our Chief Accounting Officer since September 2008.

Keith H. Williamson. Mr. Williamson has served as our Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary since November 2012. He served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel from November 2006 to November 2012.

Available Information

We are subject to the reporting and information requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (Exchange Act) and, as a result, we file periodic reports and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC. We make these filings available on our website free of charge, the URL of which is http://www.centene.com, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. The SEC maintains a website (http://www.sec.gov) that contains our annual, quarterly and current reports and other information we file electronically with the SEC. You can read and copy any materials we file with the SEC at the SEC's Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, N.E., Room 1850, Washington, D.C. 20549. You may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. Information on our website does not constitute part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

ITEM 1A. Risk Factors.

FACTORS THAT MAY AFFECT FUTURE RESULTS AND THE
TRADING PRICE OF OUR COMMON STOCK

You should carefully consider the risks described below before making an investment decision.  The trading price of our common stock could decline due to any of these risks, in which case you could lose all or part of your investment.  You should also refer to the other information in this filing, including our consolidated financial statements and related notes.  The risks and uncertainties described below are those that we currently believe may materially affect our Company.  Additional risks and uncertainties that we are unaware of or that we currently deem immaterial also may become important factors that affect our Company.

Reductions in funding or changes to eligibility requirements for government sponsored healthcare programs in which we participate could substantially affect our financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

The majority of our revenues come from government subsidized healthcare programs including Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, LTC, ABD, Foster Care and Health Insurance Marketplace premiums. The base premium rate paid for each program differs, depending on a combination of factors such as defined upper payment limits, a member’s health status, age, gender, county or region and benefit mix. Since Medicaid was created in 1965, the federal government and the states have shared the costs, with the federal share currently averaging around 57%.


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Future levels of funding and premium rates may be affected by continuing government efforts to contain healthcare costs and may further be affected by state and federal budgetary constraints. Governments periodically consider reducing or reallocating the amount of money they spend for Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, LTC, ABD and Foster Care. Adverse economic conditions may continue to put pressures on state budgets as tax and other state revenues decrease while the population that is eligible to participate in these programs increases, creating more need for funding. We anticipate this will require government agencies to find funding alternatives, which may result in reductions in funding for programs, contraction of covered benefits, and limited or no premium rate increases or premium rate decreases. A reduction (or less than expected increase), a protracted delay, or a change in allocation methodology in government funding for these programs, as well as termination of the contract for the convenience of the government, may materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.

Additionally, changes in these programs could reduce the number of persons enrolled in or eligible for these programs or increase our administrative or healthcare costs under these programs. Recent legislation generally requires that eligibility levels be maintained, but this could cause states to reduce reimbursement or reduce benefits in order for states to afford to maintain eligibility levels. If any state in which we operate were to decrease premiums paid to us or pay us less than the amount necessary to keep pace with our cost trends, it could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.

Lastly, if a federal government shutdown were to occur for a prolonged period of time, federal government payment obligations, including its obligations under Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, LTC, ABD, Foster Care and the new Health Insurance Marketplaces, may be delayed. If the federal government fails to make payments under these programs on a timely basis, our business could suffer, and our financial position, results of operations or cash flows may be materially affected.
 
Failure to accurately estimate and price our medical expenses or effectively manage our medical costs or related administrative costs could negatively affect our financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

Our profitability, to a significant degree, depends on our ability to estimate and effectively manage expenses related to health benefits through our ability to contract favorably with hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers. For example, our Medicaid revenue is often based on bids submitted before the start of the initial contract year. If our actual medical expense exceeds our estimates, our health benefits ratio, or our expenses related to medical services as a percentage of premium revenue, would increase and our profits would decline. Because of the narrow margins of our health plan business, relatively small changes in our health benefits ratio can create significant changes in our financial results. Changes in healthcare regulations and practices, the level of utilization of healthcare services, hospital and pharmaceutical costs, major epidemics or pandemics, new medical technologies, pharmaceutical compounds and other external factors, including general economic conditions such as inflation and unemployment levels, are beyond our control and could reduce our ability to accurately predict and effectively control the costs of providing health benefits.

Our medical expense includes claims reported but not paid, estimates for claims incurred but not reported, and estimates for the costs necessary to process unpaid claims at the end of each period. Our development of the medical claims liability estimate is a continuous process which we monitor and refine on a monthly basis as claims receipts and payment information as well as inpatient acuity information becomes available. As more complete information becomes available, we adjust the amount of the estimate, and include the changes in estimates in medical expense in the period in which the changes are identified. However, we still cannot be sure that our medical claims liability estimate is adequate or that adjustments to the estimate will not unfavorably impact our results of operations.

Additionally, when we commence operations in a new state, region or product, we have limited information with which to estimate our medical claims liability. For a period of time after the inception of the new business, we base our estimates on state-provided historical actuarial data and limited actual incurred and received claims and inpatient acuity information. The addition of new categories of individuals who are eligible under new legislation may pose the same difficulty in estimating our medical claims liability. Similarly, we may face difficulty in estimating our medical claims liability in 2015 for the relatively new and evolving Health Insurance Marketplaces.

From time to time in the past, our actual results have varied from our estimates, particularly in times of significant changes in the number of our members. If it is determined that our estimates are significantly different than actual results, our results of operations and financial position could be adversely affected. In addition, if there is a significant delay in our receipt of premiums, our business operations, cash flows, or earnings could be negatively impacted.


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The implementation of the Health Reform Legislation and other reforms could materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.

In March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the accompanying Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, collectively referred to as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), were enacted. While the constitutionality of the ACA was generally upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012, the Court determined that states could not be required to expand Medicaid and risk losing all federal money for their existing Medicaid programs.

Under the ACA, Medicaid coverage was expanded to all individuals under age 65 with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level beginning January 1, 2014, subject to each states' election. The federal government will pay the entire costs for Medicaid coverage for newly eligible beneficiaries for three years (2014 through 2016). Beginning in 2017, the federal share begins to decline, ending at 90% for 2020 and subsequent years. As of August 28, 2014, 27 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid eligibility or will be doing so in 2014, and additional states continue to discuss expansion. The ACA also maintained CHIP eligibility standards through September 2019.

The ACA required the establishment of Health Insurance Marketplaces for individuals and small employers to purchase health insurance coverage commencing in January 2014. Open enrollment for coverage in 2015 began on November 15, 2014 and continued until February 15, 2015. The ACA required insurers participating on the Health Insurance Marketplaces to offer a minimum level of benefits and included guidelines on setting premium rates and coverage limitations.

Our ability to adequately price products offered in the Health Insurance Marketplaces may have a negative impact on our results of operations, financial position and cash flow. We may be adversely selected by individuals who will have a higher acuity level than the anticipated pool of participants. In addition, the risk corridor, reinsurance and risk adjustment ("three Rs") provisions of the ACA established to reduce risk for insurers may not be effective in appropriately mitigating the financial risks related to the Marketplace product. Further, the reinsurance and risk corridor components may not be adequately funded. Any variation from our expectations regarding acuity, enrollment levels, adverse selection, the three Rs, or other assumptions utilized in setting adequate premium rates could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.

Our attempts to diversify our business lines through participation in Health Insurance Marketplaces established by the federal government, or “Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces,” may be impacted if the United States Supreme Court determines that the Internal Revenue Service may not extend tax-credit subsidies to health insurance coverage purchased through Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces. Individuals who would have otherwise received a tax-credit subsidy may choose not to enroll for coverage through a Federally-Facilitated Marketplace if the Supreme Court makes this determination and other changes are not made by the states to remedy this.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has stated that it will consider a limited number of premium assistance demonstration proposals from States that want to privatize Medicaid expansion. States must provide a choice between at least two qualified health plans and offer very similar benefits as those available in the newly created Health Insurance Marketplaces. Arkansas became the first state to obtain federal approval to use Medicaid funding to purchase private insurance for low-income residents and we began operations under the program beginning January 1, 2014.

The ACA imposes an annual insurance industry assessment of $8.0 billion starting in 2014, and $11.3 billion in each of 2015 and 2016, with increasing annual amounts thereafter. Such assessments are not deductible for income tax purposes. The fee will be allocated based on health insurers' premium revenues in the previous year. Each health insurer's fee is calculated by multiplying its market share by the annual fee. Market share is based on commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid premium revenue. Not-for-profit insurers may have a competitive advantage since they are exempt from paying the fee if they receive at least 80% of their premium revenue from Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP, and other not-for-profit insurers are allowed to exclude 50% of their premium revenue from the fee calculation. If this federal premium assessment is imposed as enacted, and if we are not reimbursed by the states for the cost of the federal premium assessment (including the associated tax impact), or if we are unable to otherwise adjust our business model to address this new assessment, our results of operations, financial position and cash flows may be materially adversely affected.


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There are numerous steps required to implement the legislation, including the promulgation of a substantial number of new and potentially more onerous federal regulations. Further, various health insurance reform proposals are also emerging at the state level. Because of the unsettled nature of these reforms and numerous steps required to implement them, we cannot predict what additional health insurance requirements will be implemented at the federal or state level, or the effect that any future legislation or regulation will have on our business or our growth opportunities. Although we believe the legislation may provide us with significant opportunities to grow our business, the enacted reforms, as well as future regulations and legislative changes, may in fact have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial position or liquidity. If we fail to effectively implement our operational and strategic initiatives with respect to the implementation of healthcare reform, or do not do so as effectively as our competitors, our results of operations may be materially adversely affected.

Our business activities are highly regulated and new laws or regulations or changes in existing laws or regulations or their enforcement or application could force us to change how we operate and could harm our business.

Our business is extensively regulated by the states in which we operate and by the federal government. In addition, the managed care industry has received negative publicity that has led to increased legislation, regulation, review of industry practices and private litigation in the commercial sector. In each of the jurisdictions in which we operate, we are regulated by the relevant insurance, health and/or human services departments that oversee the activities of managed care organizations providing or arranging to provide services to Medicaid, Medicare and Health Insurance Marketplace enrollees. For example, our health plan subsidiaries, as well as our applicable specialty companies, must comply with minimum statutory capital and other financial solvency requirements, such as deposit and surplus requirements.

The frequent enactment of, changes to, or interpretations of laws and regulations could, among other things: force us to restructure our relationships with providers within our network; require us to implement additional or different programs and systems; restrict revenue and enrollment growth; increase our healthcare and administrative costs; impose additional capital and surplus requirements; and increase or change our liability to members in the event of malpractice by our contracted providers. In addition, changes in political party or administrations at the state, federal or country level may change the attitude towards healthcare programs.

Additionally, the taxes and fees paid to federal, state and local governments may increase due to several factors, including:  enactment of, changes to, or interpretations of tax laws and regulations, audits by governmental authorities, geographic expansions into higher taxing jurisdictions and the effect of expansions into international markets.

Our contracts with states may require us to maintain a minimum health benefits ratio (HBR) or may require us to share profits in excess of certain levels. In certain circumstances, our plans may be required to return premium back to the state in the event profits exceed established levels or HBR does not meet the minimum requirement. Other states may require us to meet certain performance and quality metrics in order to maintain our contract or receive additional or full contractual revenue.

The governmental healthcare programs in which we participate are subject to the satisfaction of certain regulations and performance standards. For example, under Health Reform Legislation, Congress authorized CMS and the states to implement managed care demonstration programs to serve dually eligible beneficiaries to improve the coordination of their care. Participation in these demonstration programs is subject to CMS approval and the satisfaction of conditions to participation, including meeting certain performance requirements. Our inability to improve or maintain adequate quality scores and star ratings to meet government performance requirements or to match the performance of our competitors could result in limitations to our participation in or exclusion from these or other government programs. Specifically, several of our Medicaid contracts require us to maintain a Medicare health plan. Although we strive to comply with all existing regulations and to meet performance standards applicable to our business, failure to meet these requirements could result in financial fines and penalties. Also, states may not allow us to continue to participate in their government programs, or we may fail to win procurements to participate in such programs which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.

In addition, as a result of the expansion of our businesses and operations conducted in foreign countries, we face political, economic, legal, compliance, regulatory, operational and other risks and exposures that are unique and vary by jurisdiction. These foreign regulatory requirements with respect to, among other items, environmental, tax, licensing, intellectual property, privacy, data protection, investment, capital, management control, labor relations, and fraud and corruption regulations are different than those faced by our domestic businesses. In addition, we are subject to U.S. laws that regulate the conduct and activities of U.S.-based businesses operating abroad, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Our failure to comply with laws and regulations governing our conduct outside the United States or to successfully navigate international regulatory regimes that apply to us could adversely affect our ability to market our products and services, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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Our businesses providing pharmacy benefit management (PBM) and specialty pharmacy services face regulatory and other risks and uncertainties which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.

We provide PBM and specialty pharmacy services through our US Script and AcariaHealth businesses. Each business is subject to federal and state laws that govern the relationships of the business with pharmaceutical manufacturers, physicians, pharmacies, customers and consumers. They also conduct business as a mail order pharmacy and specialty pharmacy, which subjects them to extensive federal, state and local laws and regulations. In addition, federal and state legislatures regularly consider new regulations for the industry that could materially and adversely affect current industry practices, including the receipt or disclosure of rebates from pharmaceutical companies, the development and use of formularies, and the use of average wholesale prices.

Our PBM and specialty pharmacy businesses would be materially and adversely affected by an inability to contract on favorable terms with pharmaceutical manufacturers and other suppliers, and could face potential claims in connection with purported errors by our mail order or specialty pharmacies, including in connection with the risks inherent in the authorization, compounding, packaging and distribution of pharmaceuticals and other healthcare products. Disruptions at any of our mail order or specialty pharmacies due to an event that is beyond our control could affect our ability to process and dispense prescriptions in a timely manner and could materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.

If any of our government contracts are terminated or are not renewed or we receive an adverse review, audit or investigation, our business will suffer.

We provide managed care programs and selected services to individuals receiving benefits under governmental assistance programs. We provide those healthcare services under contracts with regulatory entities in the areas in which we operate. Our government contracts are generally intended to run for three years and may be extended for additional years if the contracting entity or its agent elects to do so. When our contracts expire, they may be opened for bidding by competing healthcare providers, and there is no guarantee that our contracts will be renewed or extended. Competitors may buy their way into the market by submitting bids with lower pricing. Further, our government contracts contain certain provisions regarding eligibility, enrollment and dis-enrollment processes for covered services, eligible providers, periodic financial and informational reporting, quality assurance, timeliness of claims payment and agreement to maintain a Medicare plan in the state and financial standards and are subject to cancellation if we fail to perform in accordance with the standards set by regulatory agencies.

We are also subject to various reviews, audits and investigations to verify our compliance with the terms of our contracts with various governmental agencies and applicable laws and regulations. Any adverse review, audit or investigation could result in: cancellation of our contracts; refunding of amounts we have been paid pursuant to our contracts; imposition of fines, penalties and other sanctions on us; loss of our right to participate in various programs; increased difficulty in selling our products and services; or loss of one or more of our licenses.

If any of our government contracts are terminated, not renewed, renewed on less favorable terms, or not renewed on a timely basis, or we have an adverse review, audit or investigation, our business will suffer, our goodwill could be impaired and our financial position, results of operations or cash flows may be materially affected.

Ineffectiveness of state-operated systems and subcontractors could adversely affect our business.

Our health plans rely on other state-operated systems or subcontractors to qualify, solicit, educate and assign eligible members into managed care plans. The effectiveness of these state operations and subcontractors can have a material effect on a health plan’s enrollment in a particular month or over an extended period. When a state implements new programs to determine eligibility, new processes to assign or enroll eligible members into health plans, or chooses new subcontractors, there is an increased potential for an unanticipated impact on the overall number of members assigned to managed care plans.

Our investment portfolio may suffer losses which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations or liquidity.
 
We maintain a significant investment portfolio of cash equivalents and short term and long term investments in a variety of securities, which are subject to general credit, liquidity, market and interest rate risks and will decline in value if interest rates increase or one of the issuers’ credit ratings is reduced. As a result, we may experience a reduction in value or loss of liquidity of our investments, which may have a negative adverse effect on our results of operations, liquidity and financial condition.

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Execution of our growth strategy may increase costs or liabilities, or create disruptions in our business.
 
Our growth strategy includes the acquisition of health plans participating in government sponsored healthcare programs and specialty services businesses, contract rights and related assets of other health plans both in our existing service areas and in new markets and start-up operations in new markets or new products in existing markets. Although we review the records of companies or businesses we plan to acquire, it is possible that we could assume unanticipated liabilities or adverse operating conditions, or an acquisition may not perform as well as expected or may not achieve timely profitability. We also face the risk that we will not be able to effectively integrate acquisitions into our existing operations effectively without substantial expense, delay or other operational or financial problems and we may need to divert more management resources to integration than we planned.

In connection with start-up operations, we may incur significant expenses prior to commencement of operations and the receipt of revenue. For example, in order to obtain a certificate of authority in most jurisdictions, we must first establish a provider network, have systems in place and demonstrate our ability to administer a state contract and process claims. We may experience delays in operational start dates. As a result of these factors, start-up operations may decrease our profitability. In addition, we are planning to expand our business internationally and we will be subject to additional risks, including, but not limited to, political risk, an unfamiliar regulatory regime, currency exchange risk and exchange controls, cultural and language differences, foreign tax issues, and different labor laws and practices.

If we are unable to effectively execute our growth strategy, our future growth will suffer and our results of operations could be harmed.

If competing managed care programs are unwilling to purchase specialty services from us, we may not be able to successfully implement our strategy of diversifying our business lines.

We are seeking to diversify our business lines into areas that complement our government sponsored health plan business in order to grow our revenue stream and balance our dependence on risk reimbursement. In order to diversify our business, we must succeed in selling the services of our specialty subsidiaries not only to our managed care plans, but to programs operated by third-parties. Some of these third-party programs may compete with us in some markets, and they therefore may be unwilling to purchase specialty services from us. In any event, the offering of these services will require marketing activities that differ significantly from the manner in which we seek to increase revenues from our government sponsored programs. Our ineffectiveness in marketing specialty services to third-parties may impair our ability to execute our business strategy.

Adverse credit market conditions may have a material adverse effect on our liquidity or our ability to obtain credit on acceptable terms.
 
The securities and credit markets have been experiencing extreme volatility and disruption over the past several years. The availability of credit, from virtually all types of lenders, has at times been restricted. In the event we need access to additional capital to pay our operating expenses, fund subsidiary surplus requirements, make payments on or refinance our indebtedness, pay capital expenditures, or fund acquisitions, our ability to obtain such capital may be limited and the cost of any such capital may be significant, particularly if we are unable to access our existing credit facility.
 
Our access to additional financing will depend on a variety of factors such as prevailing economic and credit market conditions, the general availability of credit, the overall availability of credit to our industry, our credit ratings and credit capacity, and perceptions of our financial prospects. Similarly, our access to funds may be impaired if regulatory authorities or rating agencies take negative actions against us. If a combination of these factors were to occur, our internal sources of liquidity may prove to be insufficient, and in such case, we may not be able to successfully obtain additional financing on favorable terms or at all.

If state regulators do not approve payments of dividends and distributions by our subsidiaries to us, we may not have sufficient funds to implement our business strategy.

We principally operate through our health plan subsidiaries. As part of normal operations, we may make requests for dividends and distributions from our subsidiaries to fund our operations. These subsidiaries are subject to regulations that limit the amount of dividends and distributions that can be paid to us without prior approval of, or notification to, state regulators. If these regulators were to deny our subsidiaries’ request to pay dividends, the funds available to us would be limited, which could harm our ability to implement our business strategy.


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We derive a majority of our premium revenues from operations in a limited number of states, and our financial position, results of operations or cash flows would be materially affected by a decrease in premium revenues or profitability in any one of those states.

Operations in a limited number of states have accounted for most of our premium revenues to date. If we were unable to continue to operate in any of our current states or if our current operations in any portion of one of those states were significantly curtailed, our revenues could decrease materially. Our reliance on operations in a limited number of states could cause our revenue and profitability to change suddenly and unexpectedly depending on legislative or other governmental or regulatory actions and decisions, economic conditions and similar factors in those states. For example, states we currently serve may bid out their Medicaid program through a request for proposal process. Our inability to continue to operate in any of the states in which we operate could harm our business.

Competition may limit our ability to increase penetration of the markets that we serve.

We compete for members principally on the basis of size and quality of provider networks, benefits provided and quality of service. We compete with numerous types of competitors, including other health plans and traditional state Medicaid programs that reimburse providers as care is provided. In addition, the impact of healthcare reform legislation and potential growth in our segment may attract new competitors.

Some of the health plans with which we compete have greater financial and other resources and offer a broader scope of products than we do. In addition, significant merger and acquisition activity has occurred in the managed care industry, as well as complementary industries, such as the hospital, physician, pharmaceutical, medical device and health information systems businesses. To the extent that competition intensifies in any market that we serve, our ability to retain or increase members and providers, or maintain or increase our revenue growth, pricing flexibility and control over medical cost trends may be adversely affected.

If we are unable to maintain relationships with our provider networks, our profitability may be harmed.

Our profitability depends, in large part, upon our ability to contract at competitive prices with hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers. Our provider arrangements with our primary care physicians, specialists and hospitals generally may be canceled by either party without cause upon 90 to 120 days prior written notice. We cannot provide any assurance that we will be able to continue to renew our existing contracts or enter into new contracts on a timely basis or under favorable terms enabling us to service our members profitably. Healthcare providers with whom we contract may not properly manage the costs of services, maintain financial solvency or avoid disputes with other providers. Any of these events could have a material adverse effect on the provision of services to our members and our operations.

In any particular market, physicians and other healthcare providers could refuse to contract, demand higher payments, or take other actions that could result in higher medical costs or difficulty in meeting regulatory or accreditation requirements. In some markets, certain healthcare providers, particularly hospitals, physician/hospital organizations or multi-specialty physician groups, may have significant market positions or near monopolies that could result in diminished bargaining power on our part. In addition, accountable care organizations, practice management companies, which aggregate physician practices for administrative efficiency and marketing leverage, and other organizational structures that physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers choose may change the way in which these providers interact with us and may change the competitive landscape. Such organizations or groups of healthcare providers may compete directly with us, which could adversely affect our operations, and our results of operations, financial position and cash flows by impacting our relationships with these providers or affecting the way that we price our products and estimate our costs, which might require us to incur costs to change our operations. Provider networks may consolidate, resulting in a reduction in the competitive environment. In addition, if these providers refuse to contract with us, use their market position to negotiate contracts unfavorable to us or place us at a competitive disadvantage, our ability to market products or to be profitable in those areas could be materially and adversely affected.

From time to time healthcare providers assert or threaten to assert claims seeking to terminate non-cancelable agreements due to alleged actions or inactions by us. In addition, we are aware that other managed care organizations have been subject to class action suits by healthcare providers with respect to claim payment procedures, and we may be subject to similar suits. Regardless of whether any suits brought against us are successful or have merit, they will still be time-consuming and costly and could distract our management’s attention. As a result, we may incur significant expenses and may be unable to operate our business effectively. If we are unable to retain our current provider contract terms or enter into new provider contracts timely or on favorable terms, our profitability may be harmed.


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We may be unable to attract, retain or effectively manage the succession of key personnel.

We are highly dependent on our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel to operate and expand our business. We would be adversely impacted if we are unable to adequately plan for the succession of our executives and senior management. While we have succession plans in place for members of our executive and senior management team, these plans do not guarantee that the services of our executive and senior management team will continue to be available to us. Our ability to replace any departed members of our executive and senior management or other key employees may be difficult and may take an extended period of time because of the limited number of individuals in the managed care and specialty services industry with the breadth of skills and experience required to operate and successfully expand a business such as ours. Competition to hire from this limited pool is intense, and we may be unable to hire, train, retain or motivate these personnel. If we are unable to attract, retain and effectively manage the succession plans for key personnel, executives and senior management, our business and financial position, results of operations or cash flows could be harmed.

If we are unable to integrate and manage our information systems effectively, our operations could be disrupted.

Our operations depend significantly on effective information systems. The information gathered and processed by our information systems assists us in, among other things, monitoring utilization and other cost factors, processing provider claims, and providing data to our regulators. Our healthcare providers also depend upon our information systems for membership verifications, claims status and other information. Our information systems and applications require continual maintenance, upgrading and enhancement to meet our operational needs and regulatory requirements. We regularly upgrade and expand our information systems’ capabilities. If we experience difficulties with the transition to or from information systems or are unable to properly maintain or expand our information systems, we could suffer, among other things, operational disruptions, loss of existing members and difficulty in attracting new members, regulatory problems and increases in administrative expenses. In addition, our ability to integrate and manage our information systems may be impaired as the result of events outside our control, including acts of nature, such as earthquakes or fires, or acts of terrorists.

From time to time, we may become involved in costly and time-consuming litigation and other regulatory proceedings, which require significant attention from our management.

We are a defendant from time to time in lawsuits and regulatory actions relating to our business, including, without limitation, medical malpractice claims. Due to the inherent uncertainties of litigation and regulatory proceedings, we cannot accurately predict the ultimate outcome of any such proceedings. An unfavorable outcome could have a material adverse impact on our business and financial position, results of operations or cash flows. In addition, regardless of the outcome of any litigation or regulatory proceedings, such proceedings are costly and time consuming and require significant attention from our management, and could therefore harm our business and financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

An impairment charge with respect to our recorded goodwill and intangible assets could have a material impact on our results of operations.

We periodically evaluate our goodwill and other intangible assets to determine whether all or a portion of their carrying values may be impaired, in which case a charge to earnings may be necessary. Changes in business strategy, government regulations or economic or market conditions have resulted and may result in impairments of our goodwill and other intangible assets at any time in the future. Our judgments regarding the existence of impairment indicators are based on, among other things, legal factors, market conditions, and operational performance. For example, the non-renewal of our health plan contracts with the state in which they operate may be an indicator of impairment. If an event or events occur that would cause us to revise our estimates and assumptions used in analyzing the value of our goodwill and other intangible assets, such revision could result in a non-cash impairment charge that could have a material impact on our results of operations in the period in which the impairment occurs.


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If we fail to comply with applicable privacy, security, and data laws, regulations and standards, including with respect to third-party service providers that utilize sensitive personal information on our behalf, our business, reputation, results of operations, financial position and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected.

As part of our normal operations, we collect, process and retain confidential member information. We are subject to various federal and state laws and rules regarding the use and disclosure of confidential member information, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which require us to protect the privacy of medical records and safeguard personal health information we maintain and use. Despite our best attempts to maintain adherence to information privacy and security best practices as well as compliance with applicable laws and rules, our facilities and systems, and those of our third party service providers, may be vulnerable to privacy or security breaches, acts of vandalism or theft, malware, misplaced or lost data including paper or electronic media, programming and/or human errors or other similar events. In the past, we have had data breaches resulting in disclosure of confidential or protected health information that have not resulted in any material financial loss or penalty to date. However, future data breaches could require us to expend significant resources to remediate any damage, interrupt our operations and damage our reputation, subject us to state or federal agency review and could also result in enforcement actions, material fines and penalties, litigation or other actions which could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation and results of operations, financial position and cash flows.

Many of our businesses are also subject to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, which is a multifaceted security standard that is designed to protect credit card account data as mandated by payment card industry entities.

HIPAA broadened the scope of fraud and abuse laws applicable to healthcare companies.  HIPAA created civil penalties for, among other things, billing for medically unnecessary goods or services.  HIPAA established new enforcement mechanisms to combat fraud and abuse, including civil and, in some instances, criminal penalties for failure to comply with specific standards relating to the privacy, security and electronic transmission of protected health information.  The HITECH Act expanded the scope of these provisions by mandating individual notification in instances of breaches of protected health information, providing enhanced penalties for HIPAA violations, and granting enforcement authority to states’ Attorneys General in addition to the HHS Office for Civil Rights.  It is possible that Congress may enact additional legislation in the future to increase penalties and to create a private right of action under HIPAA, which could entitle patients to seek monetary damages for violations of the privacy rules. In addition, HHS has announced that it will continue its audit program to assess HIPAA compliance efforts by covered entities with a focus on security risk assessments. Although we are not aware of HHS plans to audit any of our covered entities, an audit resulting in findings or allegations of noncompliance could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.

Under HIPAA, health plans are required to have the capacity to accept and send all covered transactions in a standardized electronic format. Penalties can be imposed for failure to comply with these requirements. The transaction standards have been modified to version 5010 to prepare for the implementation of the ICD-10 coding system. While we have prepared for the transition to ICD-10 in October 2015, if unforeseen circumstances arise, it is possible that we could be exposed to investigations and allegations of noncompliance. In addition, if some providers continue to use ICD-9 codes on claims after October 1, 2015, we may have to reject such claims, which may lead to claim resubmissions, increased call volume and provider and customer dissatisfaction. Further, providers may use ICD-10 codes differently than they used ICD-9 codes in the past, which could result in higher costs and reimbursement levels, or lost revenues under risk adjustment. During the transition to ICD-10, certain claims processing and payment information we have historically used to establish our reserves may not be reliable or available in a timely manner. As a result, implementation of ICD 10 may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.

A failure in or breach of our operational or security systems or infrastructure, or those of third parties with which we do business, including as a result of cyber attacks, could have an adverse effect on our business.

Information security risks have significantly increased in recent years in part because of the proliferation of new technologies, the use of the internet and telecommunications technologies to conduct our operations, and the increased sophistication and activities of organized crime, hackers, terrorists and other external parties, including foreign state agents. Our operations rely on the secure processing, transmission and storage of confidential, proprietary and other information in our computer systems and networks.


27


Security breaches may arise from external or internal threats. External breaches include hacking personal information for financial gain, attempting to cause harm to our operations, or intending to obtain competitive information. We experience attempted external hacking or malicious attacks on a regular basis. We maintain a rigorous system of preventive and detective controls through our security programs; however, our prevention and detection controls may not prevent or identify all such attacks. Internal breaches may result from inappropriate security access to confidential information by rogue employees, consultants or third party service providers. Any security breach involving the misappropriation, loss or other unauthorized disclosure or use of confidential member information, financial data, competitively sensitive information, or other proprietary data, whether by us or a third party, could have a material adverse effect on our business reputation, financial condition, cash flows, or results of operations.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 2. Properties

We own our corporate office headquarters buildings and land located in St. Louis, Missouri. We generally lease space in the states where our health plans, specialty companies and claims processing facilities operate. We are required by various insurance and regulatory authorities to have offices in the service areas where we provide benefits. We believe our current facilities are adequate to meet our operational needs for the foreseeable future.

28



Item 3. Legal Proceedings.

On July 5, 2013, the Company's subsidiary, Kentucky Spirit Health Plan, Inc. (Kentucky Spirit), terminated its contract with the Commonwealth of Kentucky (the Commonwealth). Kentucky Spirit believes it had a contractual right to terminate the contract and filed a lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court seeking a declaration of this right. The Commonwealth has alleged that Kentucky Spirit's exit constitutes a material breach of contract.  The Commonwealth seeks to recover substantial damages and to enforce its rights under Kentucky Spirit's $25 million performance bond. On July 3, 2014, the Commonwealth's attorneys asserted in a letter to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services that the Commonwealth's expenditures due to Kentucky Spirit's departure range from $28 million to $40 million plus interest, and that the associated CMS expenditures range from $92 million to $134 million. Kentucky Spirit disputes the Commonwealth's alleged damages, and is pursuing its own litigation claims for damages against the Commonwealth.

On February 6, 2015, the Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed a Franklin Circuit Court ruling that Kentucky Spirit does not have a contractual right to terminate the contract early. The Court of Appeals also found that the contract’s liquidated damages provision “is applicable in the event of a premature termination of the Contract term.” Kentucky Spirit intends to seek Kentucky Supreme Court review of the finding that its departure constituted a breach of contract. The Commonwealth may seek review of the ruling that the liquidated damages provision is applicable in the event of a premature termination.

Kentucky Spirit also filed a lawsuit in April 2013, amended in October 2014, in Franklin Circuit Court seeking damages against the Commonwealth for losses sustained due to the Commonwealth's alleged breaches. On December 9, 2014, the Franklin Circuit Court denied the Commonwealth's motion for partial summary judgment on Kentucky Spirit's damages claims. Discovery is proceeding on those claims.

The resolution of the Kentucky litigation matters may result in a range of possible outcomes.  If Kentucky Spirit prevails on its claims, it would be entitled to damages.  If the Commonwealth prevails, a liability to the Commonwealth could be recorded.  The Company is unable to estimate the ultimate outcome resulting from the Kentucky litigation.  As a result, the Company has not recorded any receivable or any liability for potential damages under the contract as of December 31, 2014.  While uncertain, the ultimate resolution of the pending litigation could have a material effect on the financial position, cash flow or results of operations of the Company in the period it is resolved or becomes known.

Excluding the Kentucky matters discussed above, the Company is also routinely subjected to legal proceedings in the normal course of business.  While the ultimate resolution of such matters in the normal course of business is uncertain, the Company does not expect the results of any of these matters individually, or in the aggregate, to have a material effect on its financial position, results of operations or cash flows.


Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.


29


PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
 
Market for Common Stock; Dividends
 
Our common stock has been traded and quoted on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “CNC” since October 16, 2003.  On February 2, 2015, the Board of Directors declared a two-for-one split of Centene's common stock in the form of a 100% stock dividend distributed February 19, 2015 to stockholders of record on February 12, 2015. All share, per share and stock price information presented in this Form 10-K has been adjusted for the two-for-one stock split. The high and low prices, as reported by the NYSE, are set forth below for the periods indicated.
 
2015 Stock Price (through
February 20, 2015)
 
2014 Stock Price
 
2013 Stock Price
 
High
 
Low
 
High
 
Low
 
High
 
Low
First Quarter
$
61.00

 
$
51.73

 
$
33.18

 
$
28.44

 
$
24.28

 
$
20.29

Second Quarter
 
 
 
 
38.84

 
27.56

 
26.37

 
21.07

Third Quarter
 
 
 
 
41.99

 
35.49

 
32.52

 
26.01

Fourth Quarter
 
 
 
 
54.24

 
37.53

 
33.92

 
27.06

 
As of February 20, 2015, there were 55 holders of record of our common stock.
 
We have never declared any cash dividends on our capital stock and currently anticipate that we will retain any future earnings for the development, operation and expansion of our business.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
 
On October 26, 2009, the Company's Board of Directors extended the Company's stock repurchase program. The program authorizes the repurchase of up to 8,000,000 shares of the Company's common stock from time to time on the open market or through privately negotiated transactions. We have 3,335,448 available shares remaining under the program for repurchases as of December 31, 2014. No duration has been placed on the repurchase program. The Company reserves the right to discontinue the repurchase program at any time. During the year ended December 31, 2014, we did not repurchase any shares through this publicly announced program.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Fourth Quarter 2014
Period
 
 
Total Number of
Shares
Purchased1
 
Average Price
Paid per
Share
 
Total Number
of Shares
Purchased as
Part of Publicly
Announced Plans
or Programs
 
Maximum
Number of Shares
that May Yet Be
Purchased Under
the Plans or
Programs2
October 1 – October 31, 2014
 
9,808
 
$
41.04

 

 
3,335,448
November 1 – November 30, 2014
 
3,726
 
49.20

 

 
3,335,448
December 1 – December 31, 2014
 
446,728
 
49.98

 

 
3,335,448
Total
 
460,262
 
$
49.78

 

 
3,335,448
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(1) Shares acquired represent shares relinquished to the Company by certain employees for payment of taxes or option cost upon vesting of restricted stock units or option exercise.
(2) Our Board of Directors adopted a stock repurchase program which allows for repurchases of up to a remaining amount of 3,335,448 shares.  No duration has been placed on the repurchase program.


30


Stock Performance Graph

The graph below compares the cumulative total stockholder return on our common stock for the period from December 31, 2009 to December 31, 2014 with the cumulative total return of the New York Stock Exchange Composite Index and the Standard & Poor's Supercomposite Managed Healthcare Index over the same period. The graph assumes an investment of $100 on December 31, 2009 in our common stock (at the last reported sale price on such day), the New York Stock Exchange Composite Index and the Standard & Poor's Supercomposite Managed Healthcare Index and assumes the reinvestment of any dividends.                             

 
December 31,
 
2009
 
2010
 
2011
 
2012
 
2013
 
2014
Centene Corporation
$
100.00

 
$
119.64

 
$
186.97

 
$
193.58

 
$
278.38

 
$
490.37

New York Stock Exchange Composite Index
100.00

 
110.84

 
104.07

 
117.52

 
144.75

 
150.86

S&P Supercomposite Managed Healthcare Index
100.00

 
109.51

 
146.70

 
153.82

 
223.21

 
296.87

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Centene Corporation closing stock price
$
10.59

 
$
12.67

 
$
19.80


$
20.50

 
$
29.48

 
$
51.93

Centene Corporation annual shareholder return
7.4
%
 
19.6
%
 
56.3
%
 
3.5
%
 
43.8
%
 
76.2
%

In accordance with the rules of the SEC, the information contained in the Stock Performance Graph on this page shall not be deemed to be “soliciting material,” or to be “filed” with the SEC or subject to the SEC’s Regulation 14A, or to the liabilities of Section 18 of the Exchange Act, except to the extent that Centene specifically requests that the information be treated as soliciting material or specifically incorporates it by reference into a document filed under the Securities Act, or the Exchange Act.

31


Item 6. Selected Financial Data
The following selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and related notes and “Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K. The assets, liabilities and results of operations of Kentucky Spirit Health Plan and University Health Plans have been classified as discontinued operations for all periods presented.
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
 
2010
 
(In millions, except share data)
Revenues:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Premium
$
14,198

 
$
10,153

 
$
7,569

 
$
4,948

 
$
4,192

Service
1,469

 
373

 
113

 
104

 
92

Premium and service revenues
15,667

 
10,526

 
7,682

 
5,052

 
4,284

Premium tax and health insurer fee
893

 
337

 
428

 
159

 
164

Total revenues
16,560

 
10,863

 
8,110

 
5,211

 
4,448

Expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Medical costs
12,678

 
8,995

 
6,781

 
4,191

 
3,584

Cost of services
1,280

 
327

 
88

 
78

 
64

General and administrative expenses
1,314

 
931

 
677

 
578

 
478

Premium tax expense
698

 
333

 
428

 
161

 
165

Health insurer fee expense
126

 

 

 

 

Impairment loss

 

 
28

 

 

Total operating expenses
16,096

 
10,586

 
8,002

 
5,008

 
4,291

Earnings from operations
464

 
277

 
108

 
203

 
157

Other income (expense):
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Investment and other income
28

 
19

 
35

 
13

 
15

Debt extinguishment costs

 

 

 
(8
)
 

Interest expense
(35
)
 
(27
)
 
(20
)
 
(20
)
 
(18
)
Earnings from continuing operations, before income tax expense
457

 
269

 
123

 
188

 
154

Income tax expense
196

 
107

 
47

 
71

 
60

Earnings from continuing operations, net of income tax expense
261

 
162

 
76

 
117

 
94

Discontinued operations, net of income tax expense (benefit) of $1, $2, $(48), $(4), and $4, respectively
3

 
4

 
(87
)
 
(9
)
 
4

Net earnings (loss)
264

 
166

 
(11
)
 
108

 
98

(Earnings) loss attributable to noncontrolling interests
7

 
(1
)
 
13

 
3

 
(3
)
Net earnings attributable to Centene Corporation
$
271

 
$
165

 
$
2

 
$
111

 
$
95

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Amounts attributable to Centene Corporation common shareholders:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Earnings from continuing operations, net of income tax expense
$
268

 
$
161

 
$
89

 
$
120

 
$
91

Discontinued operations, net of income tax expense (benefit)
3

 
4

 
(87
)
 
(9
)
 
4

Net earnings
$
271

 
$
165

 
$
2

 
$
111

 
$
95

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net earnings (loss) per common share attributable to Centene Corporation:
Basic:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Continuing operations
$
2.30

 
$
1.49

 
$
0.86

 
$
1.20

 
$
0.93

Discontinued operations
0.03

 
0.03

 
(0.84
)
 
(0.09
)
 
0.04

Basic earnings per common share
$
2.33

 
$
1.52

 
$
0.02

 
$
1.11

 
$
0.97

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Diluted:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Continuing operations
$
2.23

 
$
1.43

 
$
0.83

 
$
1.15

 
$
0.90

Discontinued operations
0.02

 
0.04

 
(0.81
)
 
(0.09
)
 
0.04

Diluted earnings per common share
$
2.25

 
$
1.47

 
$
0.02

 
$
1.06

 
$
0.94

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Weighted average number of common shares outstanding:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Basic
116,345,764

 
108,253,090

 
103,018,732

 
100,397,908

 
97,509,894

Diluted
120,360,212

 
112,494,346

 
107,428,750

 
104,948,476

 
100,895,776


32



 

 
 
December 31,
 
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
 
2010
 
 
(In millions)
Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cash and cash equivalents 1
 
$
1,546

 
$
974

 
$
746

 
$
494

 
$
434

Investments and restricted deposits 1
 
1,557

 
941

 
727

 
653

 
640

Total assets
 
5,838

 
3,529

 
2,774

 
2,190

 
1,944

Medical claims liability 1
 
1,723

 
1,112

 
815

 
519

 
457

Long term debt 1
 
888

 
666

 
535

 
348

 
328

Total stockholders' equity
 
1,743

 
1,243

 
954

 
936

 
797

__________________________
1 From continuing operations.

33


ITEM 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

The following discussion of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this filing. The discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including those set forth under Part I, Item 1A.“Risk Factors” of this Form 10-K.

OVERVIEW

In 2013, we classified the operations for Kentucky Spirit Health Plan (KSHP) as discontinued operations for all periods presented in our consolidated financial statements. The following discussion and analysis, with the exception of cash flow information, is presented in the context of continuing operations unless otherwise identified.

On February 2, 2015, the Board of Directors declared a two-for-one split of Centene's common stock in the form of a 100% stock dividend distributed February 19, 2015 to stockholders of record on February 12, 2015. All share, per share and stock price information presented in this Form 10-K has been adjusted for the two-for-one stock split.

Our financial performance for 2014 is summarized as follows:

Year-end managed care membership of 4.1 million, an increase of 1.2 million members, or 41% over 2013.
Premium and service revenues of $15.7 billion, representing 48.8% growth year over year.
Health Benefits Ratio of 89.3%, compared to 88.6% in 2013.
General and Administrative expense ratio of 8.4%, compared to 8.8% in 2013.
Total operating cash flows of $1.2 billion, or 4.6 times net earnings.
Diluted net earnings per share of $2.23, compared to $1.43 in 2013.

The following items contributed to our revenue and membership growth over the last two years:

AcariaHealth. In April 2013, we completed the acquisition of AcariaHealth, a specialty pharmacy company.

California. In November 2013, our California subsidiary, California Health and Wellness (CHW), began operating under a new contract with the California Department of Health Care Services to serve Medicaid beneficiaries in 18 rural counties under the state's Medi-Cal Managed Care Rural Expansion program and Medi-Cal beneficiaries in Imperial County. In January 2014, CHW also began serving members under the state's Medicaid expansion program.

Centurion. Centurion is a joint venture between Centene and MHM Services Inc. In July 2013, Centurion began operating under a new contract with the Department of Corrections in Massachusetts to provide comprehensive healthcare services to individuals incarcerated in Massachusetts state correctional facilities. In September 2013, Centurion began operating under a new contract to provide healthcare services to individuals incarcerated in Tennessee state correctional facilities. In January 2014, Centurion began operating under a new agreement with the Minnesota Department of Corrections to provide managed healthcare services to offenders in the state's correctional facilities.

Florida. In August 2013, our Florida subsidiary, Sunshine Health, began operating under a contract in 10 of 11 regions with the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration to serve members of the Medicaid managed care Long Term Care (LTC) program. Enrollment began in August 2013 and was implemented by region through March 2014.

In May 2014, Sunshine Health also began operating under a new contract in 9 of 11 regions of the Managed Medical Assistance (MMA) program. The MMA program includes TANF recipients as well as ABD and dual-eligible members. In addition, we began operating as the sole provider under a new statewide contract for the Child Welfare Specialty Plan (Foster Care). Enrollment for both the MMA program and Foster Care began in May 2014 and was implemented by region through August 2014.

Health Insurance Marketplaces (HIM). In January 2014, we began serving members enrolled in Health Insurance Marketplaces in certain regions of nine states: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas and Washington.


34


Illinois. In March 2014, our Illinois subsidiary, IlliniCare Health, began operating under a new contract as part of the Illinois Medicare-Medicaid Alignment Initiative serving dual-eligible members in Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane, Kankakee and Will counties (Greater Chicago region).

In July 2014, IlliniCare Health began operating under a new contract with the Cook County Health and Hospitals System to perform third party administrative services to members enrolled in the CountyCare program, as well as care coordination, behavioral health, vision care and pharmacy benefit management services.

In September 2014, IlliniCare Health began serving additional Medicaid members under the state's Medicaid and Medicaid expansion programs.

Louisiana. In July 2014, we completed the transaction whereby Community Health Solutions of America, Inc. (CHS) assigned its contract with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals under the Bayou Health Shared Savings Program to our subsidiary, Louisiana Healthcare Connections (LHC).

Massachusetts. In January 2014, our CeltiCare Health subsidiary began operating under a new contract with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services to participate in the Medicaid expansion MassHealth CarePlus program in all five regions.

Mississippi. In July 2014, our Mississippi subsidiary, Magnolia Health, began operating as one of two contractors under a new statewide managed care contract serving members enrolled in the Mississippi Coordinated Access Network program. Program expansion began in December 2014.

New Hampshire. In December 2013, our subsidiary, New Hampshire Healthy Families, began operating under a new contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to serve Medicaid beneficiaries. In addition, Medicaid expansion began in late 2014.

Ohio. In July 2013, our Ohio subsidiary, Buckeye Health Plan (Buckeye), began operating under a new and expanded contract with Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) to serve Medicaid members statewide through Ohio's three newly aligned regions (West, Central/Southeast, and Northeast). Buckeye also began serving members under the ABD Children program in July 2013. In January 2014, Buckeye began serving members under the state's Medicaid expansion program.

In May 2014, Buckeye began operating under a new contract with the ODM and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to serve Medicaid members in a dual-eligible demonstration program in three of seven regions: Northeast (Cleveland), Northwest (Toledo) and West Central (Dayton). This three-year program, which is part of the Integrated Care Delivery System expansion, serves those who have both Medicare and Medicaid eligibility. Enrollment began in May 2014 and implementation was completed in July 2014.

Texas. In September 2014, we began operating under a new contract with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to expand our operations and serve STAR+PLUS members in two Medicaid Rural Service Areas. We also began providing expanded coverage in September 2014 under our STAR+PLUS contracts to provide acute care services for intellectually and developmentally disabled members.

U.S. Medical Management. In January 2014, we acquired a majority interest in U.S. Medical Management, LLC, a management services organization and provider of in-home health services for high acuity populations.

Washington. In January 2014, our subsidiary, Coordinated Care, began serving additional Medicaid members under the state's Medicaid expansion program.

In addition, in July 2014, we completed an investment accounted for under the equity method for the purchase of a noncontrolling interest in Ribera Salud S.A. (Ribera Salud), a Spanish health management group. Centene is a joint shareholder with Ribera Salud's remaining investor, Banco Sabadell S.A.

We expect the following items to contribute to our future growth potential:

We expect to realize the full year benefit in 2015 of business commenced during 2014 in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Texas as discussed above.

35



In February 2015, LHC began operating under a new contract with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to serve Bayou Health (Medicaid) beneficiaries. Members previously served under the shared savings program were transitioned to the at-risk program on February 1, 2015.

In February 2015, our South Carolina subsidiary, Absolute Total Care, began operating under a new contract with the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to serve dual-eligible members as part of the state's dual demonstration program.

In February 2015, our Indiana subsidiary, Managed Health Services, began operating under an expanded contract with the Indiana Family & Social Services Administration to provide Medicaid services under the state's Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 program.

In February 2015, Centurion began operating under a new contract with the State of Vermont Department of Corrections to provide comprehensive correctional healthcare services.

In January 2015, we signed a definitive agreement to acquire Agate Resources, Inc., a diversified holding company that offers an array of healthcare products and services to Oregon residents. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2015, subject to customary closing conditions, including Oregon regulatory approval.

In January 2015, Magnolia Health began operating under a new contract with the State of Mississippi to provide services under the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

In January 2015, we expanded our participation in Health Insurance Marketplaces to include members in certain regions of Illinois and Wisconsin.

In December 2014, our subsidiary, Cenpatico of Arizona, in partnership with University of Arizona Health Plan, was selected by the Arizona Department of Health Services/Division of Behavioral Health Services to be the Regional Behavioral Health Authority for the new southern geographic service area. The new contract is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2015.

In December 2014, Managed Health Services, was selected by the Indiana Family & Social Services Administration to begin contract negotiations to serve its ABD Medicaid enrollees who will qualify for the new Hoosier Care Connect Program. The contract is expected to commence in the first half of 2015.

In May 2014, our Texas subsidiary, Superior HealthPlan, was selected by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to serve dual-eligible members in three counties to provide integrated and coordinated care for individuals who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Operations are expected to commence in the first quarter of 2015.

In February 2014, the Texas Health and Human Service commission expanded our STAR+PLUS contracts to include nursing facility benefits. The additional coverage is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2015.

In December 2013, we signed a definitive agreement to purchase a majority stake in Fidelis SecureCare of Michigan, Inc. (Fidelis), a subsidiary of Fidelis SeniorCare, Inc. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2015, subject to certain closing conditions including regulatory approvals, and will include cash payments contingent on the performance of the plan. Fidelis was selected by the Michigan Department of Community Health to provide integrated healthcare services to members who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid in Macomb and Wayne counties. Enrollment is expected to commence in the first half of 2015.


36


MEMBERSHIP

From December 31, 2012 to December 31, 2014, we increased our managed care membership by 1.5 million, or 57%.  The following table sets forth our membership by state for our managed care organizations:
 
December 31,
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Arizona
204,000

 
163,700

 
181,400

Arkansas
38,400

 

 

California
163,900

 
97,200

 

Florida
425,700

 
222,000

 
214,000

Georgia
389,100

 
318,700

 
313,700

Illinois
87,800

 
22,300

 
18,000

Indiana
197,700

 
195,500

 
204,000

Kansas
143,300

 
139,900

 

Louisiana
152,900

 
152,300

 
165,600

Massachusetts
48,400

 
22,600

 
21,500

Minnesota
9,500

 

 

Mississippi
108,700

 
78,300

 
77,200

Missouri
71,000

 
59,200

 
59,600

New Hampshire
62,700

 
33,600

 

Ohio
280,100

 
173,200

 
157,800

South Carolina
109,700

 
91,900

 
90,100

Tennessee
21,000

 
20,700

 

Texas
971,000

 
935,100

 
949,900

Washington
194,400

 
82,100

 
57,200

Wisconsin
83,200

 
71,500

 
72,400

Total at-risk membership
3,762,500

 
2,879,800

 
2,582,400

Non-risk membership
298,400

 

 

Total
4,060,900

 
2,879,800

 
2,582,400


At December 31, 2014, we served 201,300 Medicaid members in Medicaid expansion programs in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio and Washington included in the table above.

The following table sets forth our membership by line of business:
 
December 31,
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Medicaid
2,754,900

 
2,054,700

 
1,877,100

CHIP & Foster Care
222,700

 
275,100

 
235,200

ABD, Medicare & Duals
392,700

 
305,300

 
274,600

Health Insurance Marketplaces
74,500

 

 

Hybrid Programs
18,900

 
19,000

 
29,100

LTC
60,800

 
37,800

 
8,500

Behavioral Health
197,000

 
156,600

 
157,900

Correctional Healthcare Services
41,000

 
31,300

 

Total at-risk membership
3,762,500

 
2,879,800

 
2,582,400

Non-risk membership
298,400

 

 

Total
4,060,900

 
2,879,800

 
2,582,400

 

37


The following table identifies the Company's dual-eligible membership by line of business. The membership tables above include these members.
 
December 31,
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
ABD
118,300

 
71,700
 
62,600
LTC
35,900

 
28,800
 
7,700
Medicare
10,400

 
6,500
 
5,100
Total
164,600

 
107,000
 
75,400
From December 31, 2013 to December 31, 2014 our membership increased as a result of:
product and geographic expansions in Florida and Illinois;
the assignment of members in Louisiana under the CHS transaction;
the commencement of Medicaid expansion programs in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Washington;
the commencement of Health Insurance Marketplaces in certain regions of nine states: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas and Washington;
product expansions in Mississippi and Texas;
growth in South Carolina; and
the commencement of a correctional healthcare service contract in Minnesota.

From December 31, 2012 to December 31, 2013 our membership increased as a result:
operations commencing in California, Kansas and New Hampshire;
geographic expansion in Ohio;
growth in Washington; and,
the commencement of correctional healthcare services contracts in Massachusetts and Tennessee.


38


RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following discussion and analysis is based on our consolidated statements of operations, which reflect our results of operations for each of the three years ended December 31, 2014, prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States ($ in millions, except per share data):
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
% Change 2013-2014
 
% Change 2012-2013
Premium
$
14,198

 
$
10,153

 
$
7,569

 
39.8
 %
 
34.1
 %
Service
1,469

 
373

 
113

 
293.8
 %
 
230.1
 %
Premium and service revenues
15,667

 
10,526

 
7,682

 
48.8
 %
 
37.0
 %
Premium tax and health insurer fee
893

 
337

 
428

 
165.0
 %
 
(21.3
)%
Total revenues
16,560

 
10,863

 
8,110

 
52.4
 %
 
33.9
 %
Medical costs
12,678

 
8,995

 
6,781

 
40.9
 %
 
32.7
 %
Cost of services
1,280

 
327

 
88

 
291.4
 %
 
271.6
 %
General and administrative expenses
1,314

 
931

 
677

 
41.1
 %
 
37.5
 %
Premium tax expense
698

 
333

 
428

 
109.6
 %
 
(22.2
)%
Health insurer fee expense
126

 

 

 
n.m.

 
n.m.

Impairment loss

 

 
28

 
n.m.

 
n.m.

Earnings from operations
464

 
277

 
108

 
67.5
 %
 
156.5
 %
Investment and other income, net
(7
)
 
(8
)
 
15

 
12.5
 %
 
(153.3
)%
Earnings from continuing operations, before income tax expense
457

 
269

 
123

 
69.9
 %
 
118.7
 %
Income tax expense
196

 
107

 
47

 
83.2
 %
 
127.7
 %
Earnings from continuing operations, net of income tax
261

 
162

 
76

 
61.1
 %
 
113.2
 %
Discontinued operations, net of income tax expense (benefit) of $1, $2, and $(48), respectively
3

 
4

 
(87
)
 
(25.0
)%
 
104.6
 %
Net earnings (loss)
264

 
166

 
(11
)
 
59.0
 %
 
n.m.

(Earnings) loss attributable to noncontrolling interests
7

 
(1
)
 
13

 
n.m.

 
n.m.

Net earnings attributable to Centene Corporation
$
271

 
$
165

 
$
2

 
64.2
 %
 
n.m.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Amounts attributable to Centene Corporation common shareholders:

 
 
 
 
 
 
Earnings from continuing operations, net of income tax expense
$
268

 
$
161

 
$
89

 
66.5
 %
 
80.9
 %
Discontinued operations, net of income tax expense
3

 
4

 
(87
)
 
(25.0
)%
 
104.6
 %
Net earnings
$
271

 
$
165

 
$
2

 
64.2
 %
 
n.m.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Diluted earnings (loss) per common share attributable to Centene Corporation:
Continuing operations
$
2.23

 
$
1.43

 
$
0.83

 
55.9
 %
 
72.3
 %
Discontinued operations
0.02

 
0.04

 
(0.81
)
 
(50.0
)%
 
104.9
 %
Total diluted earnings per common share
$
2.25

 
$
1.47

 
$
0.02

 
53.1
 %
 
n.m.

n.m.: not meaningful.


39


Revenues and Revenue Recognition

Our health plans generate revenues primarily from premiums we receive from the states in which we operate. We generally receive a fixed premium per member per month pursuant to our state contracts. We generally receive premium payments and recognize premium revenue during the month in which we are obligated to provide services to our members. In some instances, our base premiums are subject to an adjustment, or risk score, based on the acuity of our membership. Generally, the risk score is determined by the state analyzing submissions of processed claims data to determine the acuity of our membership relative to the entire state's membership. Some contracts allow for additional premiums associated with certain supplemental services provided such as maternity deliveries.

Our contracts with states may require us to maintain a minimum health benefits ratio or may require us to share profits in excess of certain levels. In certain circumstances, our plans may be required to return premium to the state in the event profits exceed established levels. We recognize reductions in revenue in the current period for these programs. Other states may require us to meet certain performance and quality metrics in order to receive additional or full contractual revenue. For performance-based contracts, we do not recognize revenue subject to refund until data is sufficient to measure performance.

Revenues are recorded based on membership and eligibility data provided by the states, which is adjusted on a monthly basis by the states for retroactive additions or deletions to membership data. These eligibility adjustments are estimated monthly and subsequently adjusted in the period known. We continuously review and update those estimates as new information becomes available.  It is possible that new information could require us to make additional adjustments, which could be significant, to these estimates.
 
Our specialty services generate revenues under contracts with state programs, healthcare organizations, and other commercial organizations, as well as from our own subsidiaries. Revenues are recognized when the related services are provided or as ratably earned over the covered period of services.

Premium and service revenues collected in advance are recorded as unearned revenue. Premium and service revenues due to us are recorded as premium and related receivables and are recorded net of an allowance based on historical trends and our management's judgment of the collectibility of these accounts. As we generally receive payments during the month in which services are provided, the allowance is typically not significant in comparison to total revenues and does not have a material impact on the presentation of our financial condition or results of operations.

Some states enact premium taxes, similar assessments and provider and hospital pass-through payments, collectively, premium taxes, and these taxes are recorded as a component of revenues as well as operating expenses. Additionally, our insurance subsidiaries are subject to the Affordable Care Act annual Health Insurer Fee (HIF). The Company recognizes revenue associated with the HIF on a straight line basis when we have binding agreements for the reimbursement of the fee, including the “gross-up” to reflect the HIFs non-tax deductible nature. We exclude the HIF and premium taxes from our key ratios as we believe they are a pass-through of costs and not indicative of our operating performance. Collectively, this revenue is recorded as Premium Tax and HIF revenue in the consolidated statement of operations.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) deploys a risk adjustment model that retroactively apportions Medicare premiums paid according to health severity and certain demographic factors. The model pays more for members whose medical history indicates they have certain medical conditions. Under this risk adjustment methodology, CMS calculates the risk adjusted premium payment using diagnosis data from hospital inpatient, hospital outpatient, physician treatment settings as well as prescription drug events. The Company estimates the amount of risk adjustment based upon the diagnosis and pharmacy data submitted and expected to be submitted to CMS and records revenues on a risk adjusted basis.

Operating Expenses
 
Medical Costs

Medical costs include payments to physicians, hospitals, and other providers for healthcare and specialty services claims. Medical costs also include estimates of medical expenses incurred but not yet reported, or IBNR, and estimates of the cost to process unpaid claims. We use our judgment to determine the assumptions to be used in the calculation of the required IBNR estimate. The assumptions we consider include, without limitation, claims receipt and payment experience (and variations in that experience), changes in membership, provider billing practices, healthcare service utilization trends, cost trends, product mix, seasonality, prior authorization of medical services, benefit changes, known outbreaks of disease or increased incidence of illness such as influenza, provider contract changes, changes to Medicaid fee schedules, and the incidence of high dollar or catastrophic claims.

40



Our development of the IBNR estimate is a continuous process which we monitor and refine on a monthly basis as claims receipts and payment information becomes available. As more complete information becomes available, we adjust the amount of the estimate, and include the changes in estimates in medical expense in the period in which the changes are identified.

Additionally, we contract with independent actuaries to review our estimates on a quarterly basis. The independent actuaries provide us with a review letter that includes the results of their analysis of our medical claims liability. We do not solely rely on their report to adjust our claims liability. We utilize their calculation of our claims liability only as additional information, together with management's judgment, to determine the assumptions to be used in the calculation of our liability for medical costs.
    
While we believe our IBNR estimate is appropriate, it is possible future events could require us to make significant adjustments for revisions to these estimates. Accordingly, we cannot assure you that medical costs will not materially differ from our estimates.

Results of operations depend on our ability to manage expenses associated with health benefits and to accurately estimate costs incurred. The Health Benefits Ratio, or HBR, represents medical costs as a percentage of premium revenues (excluding Premium Tax and Health Insurer Fee revenues) and reflects the direct relationship between the premium received and the medical services provided.

Cost of Services

Cost of services expense includes the pharmaceutical costs associated with our pharmacy benefit manager and specialty pharmacy's external revenues and certain direct costs to support the functions responsible for generation of our service revenues. These expenses consist of the salaries and wages of the professionals who provide the services and associated expenses.

General and Administrative Expenses

General and administrative expenses, or G&A, primarily reflect wages and benefits, including stock compensation expense, and other administrative costs associated with our health plans, specialty companies and centralized functions that support all of our business units. Our major centralized functions are finance, information systems and claims processing. G&A expenses also include business expansion costs, such as wages and benefits for administrative personnel, contracting costs, and information technology buildouts, incurred prior to the commencement of a new contract or health plan.

The G&A expense ratio represents G&A expenses as a percentage of premium and service revenues, and reflects the relationship between revenues earned and the costs necessary to earn those revenues.

Health Insurer Fee

The Health Insurer Fee reflects the annual fee mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to health insurers. The fee is determined based on our premium revenues in the previous year. Each health insurer's fee is calculated by multiplying its market share by the annual fee. Market share is based on commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid premium revenue.

Other Income (Expense)

Other income (expense) consists principally of investment income from cash and investments, earnings in equity method investments, and interest expense on debt. 

Discontinued Operations

Our subsidiary, Kentucky Spirit Health Plan (KSHP), ceased serving Medicaid members in Kentucky as of July 6, 2013. Accordingly, the results of operations for KSHP are classified as discontinued operations for all periods presented in our consolidated financial statements. The following discussion and analysis is presented primarily in the context of continuing operations unless otherwise identified.


41


Year Ended December 31, 2014 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2013

Premium and Service Revenues

Premium and service revenues increased 48.8% in the year ended December 31, 2014 over the corresponding period in 2013 as a result of expansions in Florida, Ohio, Washington, Texas and Illinois, growth in the AcariaHealth business, the addition of the California and New Hampshire operations and our participation in the Health Insurance Marketplaces. During the year ended December 31, 2014, we received premium rate adjustments which yielded an approximate net 1% composite increase across all of our markets.

Operating Expenses

Medical Costs

The table below depicts the HBR for our membership by member category for the year ended December 31,:

 
2014
 
2013
Medicaid, CHIP, Foster Care & HIM
86.3
%
 
87.5
%
ABD, LTC and Medicare
93.5

 
90.4

Specialty Services
85.5

 
85.4

Total
89.3

 
88.6


The consolidated HBR for the year ended December 31, 2014, of 89.3% was an increase of 70 basis points over the comparable period in 2013. The increase compared to last year is primarily attributable to an increase in complex care membership over the prior year.

Cost of Services

Cost of services increased by $953 million in the year ended December 31, 2014, compared to the corresponding period in 2013. This was primarily due to the acquisition of and growth in our AcariaHealth business as well as the acquisition of U.S. Medical Management.

General & Administrative Expenses

General and administrative expenses, or G&A, increased by $383 million in the year ended December 31, 2014, compared to the corresponding period in 2013.  This was primarily due to expenses for additional staff and facilities to support our membership growth.

The consolidated G&A expense ratio for the years ended December 31, 2014 and 2013 was 8.4% and 8.8%, respectively.  The year over year decrease in the G&A ratio reflects the leveraging of expenses over higher revenues in 2014, offset by the acquisition of U.S. Medical Management and start up of Health Insurance Marketplaces which operate at higher G&A ratios.

Health Insurer Fee

During the year ended December 31, 2014, we recorded $126 million of non-deductible expense for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) annual health insurer fee. As of December 31, 2014, we have received signed agreements representing 99% of the total revenue associated with the reimbursement of the ACA insurer fee including the related gross-up for the associated income tax effects. As a result, we recorded $195 million in Premium Tax and Health Insurer Fee revenue associated with the reimbursement of the fee.

Other Income (Expense)

The following table summarizes the components of other income (expense) for the year ended December 31, ($ in millions): 

42


 
2014
 
2013
Investment income
$
22

 
$
18

Earnings from equity method investments
6

 
1

Interest expense
(35
)
 
(27
)
Other income (expense), net
$
(7
)
 
$