Centene Appoints Holly Benson as Senior Vice President of Health Policy and Announces Additional Organizational Changes

ST. LOUIS, March 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC) today announced the appointment of Holly Benson as Senior Vice President of Health Policy.  

Ms. Benson brings more than 10 years of government and public policy experience to Centene.  Most recently, she served as Secretary for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, the state agency responsible for Florida's Medicaid program.  She previously served as Secretary for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and she served as a member of the Florida House of Representatives. In the House, Benson served as Chair of the Health Care Council and worked with Governor Jeb Bush on Medicaid reform legislation.  Benson also spent 10 years practicing municipal bond law with Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C.

"Ms. Benson brings a unique perspective and invaluable experience working for governmental agencies to Centene's senior leadership team," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Neidorff.  "With healthcare reform a high priority for the public and our state partners, Ms. Benson's new role will be critical in helping Centene drive sound health policy both nationally and at the state level."

"In working with Centene's leaders when they launched Sunshine State Health Plan in Florida, I was impressed by their commitment to providing quality health care to their members and to keeping that health care affordable," Ms. Benson said. "I am eager to bring that commitment to quality and affordability to the other states around the country."

Ms. Benson graduated with honors from Dartmouth College and earned her law degree from the University of Florida College of Law.  She is active in her community, having served on the Mary Brogan Museum of Art Board and served as a member of the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce and Florida Council of 100, and has been recognized by several organizations for her outstanding efforts in healthcare policy and business leadership, including the Florida Association of Health Plans, the Florida Medical Association and Associated Industries of Florida.

In addition, Executive Vice President of Corporate Development Jesse Hunter has been named Chairman of a new Operating Committee. The group will also consist of our Health Plan Business Unit led by Mark Eggert and the Specialty Business Unit led by Jason Harrold. The Operating Committee will give guidance to and ensure appropriate coordination of all three entities, and all steps will remain in place to maintain the separation and integrity of the Specialty Companies and Health Plans.

"This will allow me more time to focus on Centene's growth and strategic objectives," said Mr. Neidorff.  "I have agreed with the Board to stay in my current capacity for at least five years."

Mr. Hunter joined Centene Corporation in 2002, soon after the Company went public.  During that time, he has held several key positions contributing to the growth and success of Centene.  

The move is effective immediately.

About Centene Corporation

Centene Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, is a leading multi-line healthcare enterprise that provides programs and related services to the rising number of under-insured and uninsured individuals. Many receive benefits provided under Medicaid, including the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as well as Aged, Blind or Disabled (ABD), Foster Care, long-term care, other state-sponsored programs and Medicare (Special Needs Plans). Centene's CeltiCare subsidiary offers states unique "exchange-based" and other cost-effective coverage solutions for low-income populations. The company operates local health plans and offers a range of health insurance solutions. It also contracts with other healthcare and commercial organizations to provide specialty services including behavioral health, life and health management, managed vision, telehealth services, and pharmacy benefits management. More information regarding Centene is available at www.centene.com.

SOURCE Centene Corporation