During their Dec. 12 investor day, Centene Corp. executives promised 12% to 15% in annual earnings growth and declared victory in their multiyear value creation and cost-cutting plan. Wall Street analysts responded warmly to the firm’s presentation, which featured a bold plan to grow Affordable Care Act marketplace enrollment by courting small businesses.
That plan would leverage Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangements (ICHRAs) to exploit what CEO Sarah London called a “long-term disruption opportunity” in the small-business health insurance market. Centene is the first major carrier to promise long-term, substantive growth in ICHRAs. The long-term growth prospects of ICHRAs, which allow employers and employees to buy marketplace plans, are far from clear.