Centene’s 1Q Features Lots Of Pandemic Upside, Downside

Centene Corp.’s two dominant business lines — managed Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act exchanges — both were sources of significant headwinds and tailwinds in the first quarter of 2021, underscoring the often-contradictory impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health insurance sector.

On the one hand, Centene acknowledged in its earnings report that it saw higher COVID-19 and traditional utilization in its ACA marketplace business, surprising Jefferies analysts who noted that “those components have tended to move in opposite directions.” Centene also saw its marketplace membership decline year over year by 14%, the analysts noted.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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