Centene Corporation Subsidiary Expands Operations with Behavioral Health Contracts in Arizona

ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 2, 2005--Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC) announced today that the state of Arizona issued a statement of its intent to award contracts valued at approximately $78.4 million annually to Cenpatico Behavioral Health, LLC(TM) (CBH), a wholly owned subsidiary of CenCorp Health Solutions(TM) (CenCorp). When these contracts are finalized, CBH will facilitate the delivery of mental health and substance abuse services to behavioral health recipients in the Arizona counties of Yuma, La Paz, Pinal and Gila beginning July 1, 2005. Services will be provided by the Greater Arizona Behavioral Health Authority, LLC (GREABHA), a subsidiary of CBH.

Samuel A. Donaldson, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of CBH, stated, "GREABHA is dedicated to offering services that meet the individual members' unique needs and is consistent with the Arizona model of delivering quality behavioral health services. We are dedicated to promoting innovative care to enhance the quality of life of Medicaid behavioral health and substance abuse recipients in Arizona, one person at a time."

Michael F. Neidorff, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Centene Corporation added, "The commitment of Centene and CBH to the state of Arizona is to develop and manage, through a local presence, a system of care that is accountable, produces demonstrated cost savings and is optimally responsive to the needs of Medicaid consumers. These goals reflect Centene's core values and confirm our belief that we can collaborate with states to move more of these recipients into effective managed behavioral health programs."

Centene Corporation expects revenue in the range of $38 to $39 million in 2005. Recognizing start up costs, the Company expects a nominal impact to earnings per share in 2005.

The information provided in the fourth paragraph above contains forward-looking statements that relate to future events and future financial performance of Centene. These forward-looking statements represent the Company's estimates as of March 2, 2005. Subsequent events and developments may cause the Company's estimates to change. The Company disclaims any obligation to update this forward-looking financial information in the future. 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 Centene's or its 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.

Actual results may differ from projections or estimates due to a variety of important factors, including Centene's ability to accurately predict and effectively manage health benefits and other operating expenses, competition, changes in healthcare practices, changes in federal or state laws or regulations, inflation, provider contract changes, new technologies, reduction in provider payments by governmental payers, major epidemics, disasters and numerous other factors affecting the delivery and cost of healthcare. The expiration, cancellation or suspension of Centene's Medicaid managed care contracts by state governments would also negatively affect Centene.

About CenCorp Health Solutions

CenCorp is a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene and strives to provide specialized health solutions to the complex problems faced by patients, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies and distributors and payers. CenCorp has two wholly owned subsidiaries: Cenpatico Behavioral Health and NurseWise(R). CenCorp also offers other services including ScriptAssist(TM)and Enhanced Care Coordination for SSI beneficiaries. Information regarding CenCorp is available via the Internet at www.cencorphealthsolutions.com

About Centene Corporation

Centene 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, nurse triage and pharmacy compliance. Information regarding Centene is available via the Internet at www.centene.com.

CONTACT: Centene Corporation
Investor Relations
Lisa M. Wilson, 212-759-3929
Corporate Marketing and Communications
Robert J. Schenk, 314-725-4477

SOURCE: Centene Corporation