Centene Corporation Subsidiary Receives Preliminary Notification of Ohio Medicaid Contract Awards

ST. LOUIS, Mar 17, 2006 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC) today announced that it has received preliminary notification of an award of Medicaid contracts in the Northwest and East Central Regions by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). These regions have approximately 129,000 and 145,000 eligible recipients, respectively. Centene's Ohio subsidiary, Buckeye Community Health Plan, will be one of three health plans selected to manage healthcare for Medicaid recipients in these regions. The award is subject to regulatory approval, as well as a readiness review process by the state.

The state has not yet released the roll-out dates for the implementation and has set a meeting date of March 24, 2006, to provide further information.

Michael F. Neidorff, Centene's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We are pleased to have received notification of our preliminary acceptance as one of the managed care plans selected by Ohio to serve Medicaid recipients in the Northwest and East Central regions, expanding the number of counties we serve from two to 27. Our current enrollment will go from 59,000 to approximately 100,000, which includes our announced acquisition of MediPlan Corporation, which is expected to close by the beginning of the third quarter 2006, and represents significant growth. While we are disappointed that we were not selected to participate in additional regions, we did establish strong relationships that will prove to be critical as we review our options for the Aged, Blind & Disabled expansion later this year.

"We will always believe that standing firm and maintaining our disciplined approach on contracting and rates was the appropriate and conservative decision in this highly competitive environment even though it may have cost us expansion opportunities in a number of regions. Separately, we are evaluating our continued interest in the Central region, the largest one, which the State plans to re-bid due to only two health plans meeting their requirements. We look forward to continuing to serve the state of Ohio in meeting the needs of their Medicaid recipients," concluded Neidorff.

About Centene Corporation

Centene Corporation provides multi-line managed care programs and related services to individuals receiving benefits under Medicaid, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The Company operates health plans in Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin. In addition, the Company contracts with other healthcare organizations to provide specialty services including behavioral health, disease management, nurse triage, pharmacy benefit management and treatment compliance. Information regarding Centene is available via the Internet at www.centene.com.

SOURCE: Centene Corporation

Centene Corporation
Lisa Wilson, 212-759-3929
Robert J. Schenk, 314-725-4477