SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
☒ ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
☐ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from to
Commission file number: 001-31826
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)|| ||(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)|
|7700 Forsyth Boulevard|| || |
|St. Louis, ||Missouri||63105|
|(Address of principal executive offices)|| ||(Zip Code)|
Registrant's telephone number, including area code: (314) 725-4477
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of Each Class||Trading Symbol(s)||Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered|
|Common Stock, $0.001 Par Value||CNC||New York Stock Exchange|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
(Title of Class)
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer", "accelerated filer", "smaller reporting company", and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer||☒||Accelerated filer||☐|
|Non-accelerated filer||☐||Smaller reporting company||☐|
|Emerging growth company ||☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No ☒
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based upon the last reported sale price of the common stock on the New York Stock Exchange on June 30, 2020, was $36.8 billion.
As of February 19, 2021, the registrant had 581,593,037 shares of common stock issued and outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Proxy Statement for the registrant's 2021 annual meeting of stockholders are incorporated by reference in Part III, Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14.
ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT ON FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
All statements, other than statements of current or historical fact, contained in this filing are forward-looking statements. Without limiting the foregoing, forward-looking statements often use words such as "believe," "anticipate," "plan," "expect," "estimate," "intend," "seek," "target," "goal," "may," "will," "would," "could," "should," "can," "continue" and other similar words or expressions (and the negative thereof). Centene Corporation and its subsidiaries (Centene, the Company, our or we) intends such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe-harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and we are including this statement for purposes of complying with these safe-harbor provisions. In particular, these statements include, without limitation, statements about our future operating or financial performance, market opportunity, growth strategy, competition, expected activities in completed and future acquisitions, including statements about the impact of our proposed acquisition of Magellan Health (the Magellan Acquisition), our recently completed acquisition of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (WellCare and such acquisition, the WellCare Acquisition), other recent and future acquisitions, investments and the adequacy of our available cash resources. These statements may be found in the various sections of this filing, such as Part I, Item 1. "Business," Part I, Item IA "Risk Factors," Part I, Item 3. "Legal Proceedings," and Part II, Item 7. "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations."
These forward-looking statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and are based on numerous assumptions and assessments made by us in light of our experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions, business strategies, operating environments, future developments and other factors we believe appropriate. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties and are subject to change because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future, including economic, regulatory, competitive and other factors that may cause our or our 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. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions.
All forward-looking statements included in this filing are based on information available to us on the date of this filing. Except as may be otherwise required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements included in this filing, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date of this filing. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, as actual results may differ materially from projections, estimates, or other forward-looking statements due to a variety of important factors, variables and events including, but not limited to:
•the impact of COVID-19 on global markets, economic conditions, the healthcare industry and our results of operations and the response by governments and other third parties;
•the risk that regulatory or other approvals required for the Magellan Acquisition may be delayed or not obtained or are obtained subject to conditions that are not anticipated that could require the exertion of management's time and our resources or otherwise have an adverse effect on us;
•the risk that Magellan Health's stockholders do not approve the definitive merger agreement;
•the possibility that certain conditions to the consummation of the Magellan Acquisition will not be satisfied or completed on a timely basis and accordingly the Magellan Acquisition may not be consummated on a timely basis or at all;
•uncertainty as to the expected financial performance of the combined company following completion of the Magellan Acquisition;
•the possibility that the expected synergies and value creation from the Magellan Acquisition or the WellCare Acquisition will not be realized, or will not be realized within the applicable expected time periods;
•the exertion of management's time and our resources, and other expenses incurred and business changes required, in connection with complying with the undertakings in connection with any regulatory, governmental or third party consents or approvals for the Magellan Acquisition;
•the risk that unexpected costs will be incurred in connection with the completion and/or integration of the Magellan Acquisition or that the integration of Magellan Health will be more difficult or time consuming than expected;
•the risk that potential litigation in connection with the Magellan Acquisition may affect the timing or occurrence of the Magellan Acquisition or result in significant costs of defense, indemnification and liability;
•a downgrade of the credit rating of our indebtedness, which could give rise to an obligation to redeem existing indebtedness;
•the possibility that competing offers will be made to acquire Magellan Health;
•the inability to retain key personnel;
•disruption from the announcement, pendency and/or completion and/or integration of the Magellan Acquisition or the integration of the WellCare Acquisition, or similar risks from other acquisitions we may announce or complete from
time to time, including potential adverse reactions or changes to business relationships with customers, employees, suppliers or regulators, making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships;
•our ability to accurately predict and effectively manage health benefits and other operating expenses and reserves, including fluctuations in medical utilization rates due to the impact of COVID-19;
•membership and revenue declines or unexpected trends;
•changes in healthcare practices, new technologies, and advances in medicine;
•increased healthcare costs;
•changes in economic, political or market conditions;
•changes in federal or state laws or regulations, including changes with respect to income tax reform or government healthcare programs as well as changes with respect to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, collectively referred to as the ACA and any regulations enacted thereunder that may result from changing political conditions, the new administration or judicial actions, including the ultimate outcome in "Texas v. United States of America" regarding the constitutionality of the ACA;
•rate cuts or other payment reductions or delays by governmental payors and other risks and uncertainties affecting our government businesses;
•our ability to adequately price products;
•disasters or major epidemics;
•changes in expected contract start dates;
•provider, state, federal, foreign and other contract changes and timing of regulatory approval of contracts;
•the expiration, suspension, or termination of our contracts with federal or state governments (including, but not limited to, Medicaid, Medicare, TRICARE or other customers);
•the difficulty of predicting the timing or outcome of pending or future legal and regulatory proceedings or government investigations;
•challenges to our contract awards;
•cyber-attacks or other privacy or data security incidents;
•the possibility that the expected synergies and value creation from acquired businesses, including businesses we may acquire in the future, will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period;
•the exertion of management's time and our resources, and other expenses incurred and business changes required in connection with complying with the undertakings in connection with any regulatory, governmental or third party consents or approvals for acquisitions;
•disruption caused by significant completed and pending acquisitions making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships;
•the risk that unexpected costs will be incurred in connection with the completion and/or integration of acquisition transactions;
•changes in expected closing dates, estimated purchase price and accretion for acquisitions;
•the risk that acquired businesses will not be integrated successfully;
•restrictions and limitations in connection with our indebtedness;
•our ability to maintain or achieve improvement in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Star ratings and maintain or achieve improvement in other quality scores in each case that can impact revenue and future growth;
•availability of debt and equity financing, on terms that are favorable to us;
•foreign currency fluctuations.
This list of important factors is not intended to be exhaustive. We discuss certain of these matters more fully, as well as certain other factors that may affect our business operations, financial condition and results of operations, in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K. Item 1A. "Risk Factors" of Part I of this filing contains a further discussion of these and other important factors that could cause actual results to differ from expectations. Due to these important factors and risks, we cannot give assurances with respect to our future performance, including without limitation our ability to maintain adequate premium levels or our ability to control our future medical and selling, general and administrative costs.
SUMMARY OF RISK FACTORS
Our business is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties that you should be aware of in evaluating our business, including risks that may prevent us from achieving our business objectives or may adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and prospects. The risks include, but are not limited to, the following, all of which are more fully described in Part 1, Item 1A "Risk Factors" section below. This summary should be read in conjunction with the Risk Factors section and should not be relied upon as an exhaustive summary of the material risks facing our business.
•Our business could be adversely affected by the effects of widespread public health pandemics, such as the spread of COVID-19;
•Our Medicare programs are subject to a variety of unique risks that could adversely impact our financial results;
•Failure to accurately estimate and price our medical expenses or effectively manage our medical costs or related administrative costs could negatively affect our results of operations, financial position and cash flows;
•Risk-adjustment payment systems make our revenue and results of operations more difficult to estimate and could result in retroactive adjustments that have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows;
•Any failure to adequately price products offered or any reduction in products offered in the Health Insurance Marketplaces may have a negative impact on our results of operations, financial position and cash flow;
•We derive a portion of our cash flow and gross margin from our prescription drug plan (PDP) operations, for which we submit annual bids for participation. The results of our bids could materially affect our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows;
•Our encounter data may be inaccurate or incomplete, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, cash flows and ability to bid for, and continue to participate in, certain programs;
•If any of our government contracts are terminated or are not renewed on favorable terms or at all, or if we receive an adverse finding or review resulting from an audit or investigation, our business may be adversely affected;
•Ineffectiveness of state-operated systems and subcontractors could adversely affect our business;
•Execution of our growth strategy may increase costs or liabilities, or create disruptions in our business;
•If competing managed care programs are unwilling to purchase specialty services from us, we may not be able to successfully implement our strategy of diversifying our business lines;
•If state regulators do not approve payments of dividends and distributions by our subsidiaries to us, we may not have sufficient funds to implement our business strategy;
•We derive a significant portion of our premium revenues from operations in a limited number of states, and our results of operations, financial position or cash flows could be materially affected by a decrease in premium revenues or profitability in any one of those states;
•Competition may limit our ability to increase penetration of the markets that we serve;
•If we are unable to maintain relationships with our provider networks, our profitability may be harmed;
•If we are unable to integrate and manage our information systems effectively, our operations could be disrupted;
•An impairment charge with respect to our recorded goodwill and intangible assets could have a material impact on our results of operations;
•A failure in or breach of our operational or security systems or infrastructure, or those of third parties with which we do business, including as a result of cyber-attacks, could have an adverse effect on our business;
•Reductions in funding, changes to eligibility requirements for government sponsored healthcare programs in which we participate and any inability on our part to effectively adapt to changes to these programs could substantially affect our results of operations, financial position and cash flows;
•The implementation of the ACA, as well as potential repeal of, changes to, or judicial challenges to the ACA, could materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial position and cash flows;
•Our business activities are highly regulated and new laws or regulations or changes in existing laws or regulations or their enforcement or application could force us to change how we operate and could harm our business;
•Our businesses providing pharmacy benefit management and specialty pharmacy services face regulatory and other risks and uncertainties which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial position and cash flows;
•From time to time, we may become involved in costly and time-consuming litigation and other regulatory proceedings, which require significant attention from our management;
•If we fail to comply with applicable privacy, security, and data laws, regulations and standards, including with respect to third-party service providers that utilize sensitive personal information on our behalf, our business, reputation, results of operations, financial position and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected;
•If we fail to comply with the extensive federal and state fraud, waste and abuse laws, our business, reputation, results of operations, financial position and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected;
•Our investment portfolio may suffer losses which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations or liquidity;
•Adverse credit market conditions may have a material adverse effect on our liquidity or our ability to obtain credit on acceptable terms;
•We have substantial indebtedness outstanding and may incur additional indebtedness in the future. Such indebtedness could reduce our agility and may adversely affect our financial condition;
•Changes in the method pursuant to which the LIBOR rates are determined and potential phasing out of LIBOR after 2021 may affect the value of the financial obligations to be held or issued by us that are linked to LIBOR or our results of operations or financial condition;
•Mergers and acquisitions may not be accretive and may cause dilution to our earning per share, which may cause the market price of our common stock to decline;
•We may be unable to successfully integrate our existing business with acquired businesses and realize the anticipated benefits of such acquisitions;
•The financing arrangements that we entered into in connection with the WellCare Acquisition may, under certain circumstances, contain restrictions and limitations that could significantly impact our ability to operate our business;
•The merger with Magellan Health is subject to conditions, some or all of which may not be satisfied, or completed on a timely basis, if at all. Failure to complete the merger with Magellan Health could have adverse effects on our business;
•Centene and Magellan Health may be targets of securities class action and derivative lawsuits that could result in substantial costs and may delay or prevent the Magellan Acquisition from being completed;
•Completion of the Magellan Acquisition may trigger change in control or other provisions in certain agreements to which Magellan Health or its subsidiaries are a party, which may have an adverse impact on the combined company’s business and results of operations; and
•We may be unable to attract, retain or effectively manage the succession of key personnel; and
•Future issuances and sales of additional shares of preferred or common stock could reduce the market price of our shares of common stock.
Non-GAAP Financial Presentation
The Company is providing certain non-GAAP financial measures in this report as the Company believes that these figures are helpful in allowing investors to more accurately assess the ongoing nature of the Company's operations and measure the Company's performance more consistently across periods. The Company uses the presented non-GAAP financial measures internally to allow management to focus on period-to-period changes in the Company's core business operations. Therefore, the Company believes that this information is meaningful in addition to the information contained in the GAAP presentation of financial information. The presentation of this additional non-GAAP financial information is not intended to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for the financial information prepared and presented in accordance with GAAP.
Specifically, the Company believes the presentation of non-GAAP financial information that excludes amortization of acquired intangible assets, acquisition related expenses, as well as other items, allows investors to develop a more meaningful understanding of the Company's performance over time. The tables below provide reconciliations of non-GAAP items ($ in millions, except per share data).
|Year Ended December 31,|
|GAAP net earnings attributable to Centene||$||1,808 ||$||1,321 ||$||900 |
|Amortization of acquired intangible assets||719 ||258 ||211 |
|Acquisition related expenses ||602 ||104 ||425 |
Other adjustments (1)
|29 ||301 ||30 |
Income tax effects of adjustments (2)
|Adjusted net earnings||$||2,896 ||$||1,857 ||$||1,411 |
|GAAP diluted earnings per share (EPS) attributable to Centene||$||3.12 ||$||3.14 ||$||2.26 |
Amortization of acquired intangible assets (3)
|0.95 ||0.47 ||0.41 |
Acquisition related expenses (4)
|0.86 ||0.19 ||0.81 |
Other adjustments (1)
|0.07 ||0.62 ||0.06 |
|Adjusted Diluted EPS||$||5.00 ||$||4.42 ||$||3.54 |
(1) Other adjustments include the following items:
2020 - (a) gain related to the divestiture of certain products of our Illinois health plan of $104 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, net of an income tax expense of $0.08; (b) non-cash impairment of our third-party care management software business of $72 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, net of an income tax benefit of $0.02; and (c) debt extinguishment costs of $61 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, net of an income tax benefit of $0.04.
2019 - (a) non-cash goodwill and intangible asset impairment of $271 million or $0.57 per diluted share, net of an income tax benefit of $0.08 and (b) debt extinguishment costs of $30 million or $0.05 per diluted share, net of an income tax benefit of $0.02; and
2018 - the impact of retroactive changes to the California minimum medical loss ratio (MLR) of $30 million of expense or $0.06 per diluted share, net of an income tax benefit of $0.02.
(2) The income tax effects of adjustments are based on the effective income tax rates applicable to each adjustment.
(3) Amortization of acquired intangible assets is net of an income tax benefit of $0.29, $0.14, and $0.12 per diluted share for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
(4) Acquisition related expenses are net of an income tax benefit of $0.18, $0.06 and $0.25 per diluted share for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
|Year Ended December 31,|
|GAAP selling, general and administrative expenses||$||9,867 ||$||6,533 ||$||6,043 |
|Acquisition related expenses||580 ||85 ||421 |
|Adjusted selling, general and administrative expenses||$||9,287 ||$||6,448 ||$||5,622 |
ITEM 1. Business
We are a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise that is committed to helping people live healthier lives. We take a local approach - with local brands and local teams - to provide fully integrated, high-quality, and cost-effective services to government-sponsored and commercial healthcare programs, focusing on under-insured and uninsured individuals. We also provide education and outreach programs to inform and assist members in accessing quality, appropriate healthcare services. We believe our local approach, including member and provider services, enables us to provide accessible, quality, culturally-sensitive healthcare coverage to our communities. Our population health management, educational and other initiatives are designed to help members best utilize the healthcare system to ensure they receive appropriate, medically necessary services and effective management of routine, severe and chronic health problems, resulting in better health outcomes. We combine our decentralized local approach for care with a centralized infrastructure of support functions such as finance, information systems and claims processing.
Our initial health plan commenced operations in Wisconsin in 1984. We were organized in Wisconsin in 1993 as a holding company for our initial health plan and reincorporated in Delaware in 2001. Our stock is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "CNC."
We operate in two segments: Managed Care and Specialty Services. Our Managed Care segment provides health plan coverage to individuals through government subsidized and commercial programs. Our Specialty Services segment includes companies offering diversified healthcare services and products to our Managed Care segment and other external customers. For the year ended December 31, 2020, our Managed Care and Specialty Services segments accounted for 96% and 4%, respectively, of our total external revenues. Our membership totaled 25.5 million as of December 31, 2020. For the year ended December 31, 2020, our total revenues and net earnings attributable to Centene were $111.1 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively, and our total cash flow from operations was $5.5 billion.
In January 2021, we announced that we entered into a definitive merger agreement under which we will acquire Magellan Health for $95.00 per share in cash for a total enterprise value of approximately $2.2 billion. The transaction, which was unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, is expected to broaden and deepen our whole health capabilities and establish a leading behavioral health platform. The transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott Rodino Act, receipt of required state regulatory approvals, the approval of the definitive merger agreement by Magellan Health's stockholders and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is not contingent upon financing. We intend to fund the acquisition primarily through debt financing. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2021.
On January 23, 2020, we acquired all of the issued and outstanding shares of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (WellCare, and such acquisition, the WellCare Acquisition). The transaction was valued at $19.6 billion, including the assumption of $1.95 billion of outstanding debt. The WellCare Acquisition brought a high-quality Medicare platform and further extended our robust Medicaid offerings. The WellCare Acquisition also enables us to provide access to more comprehensive and differentiated solutions across more markets with a continued focus on affordable, high-quality, culturally-sensitive healthcare services. With the WellCare Acquisition, we further broadened our product offerings by adding a Medicare prescription drug plan to our existing business lines.
We provide a full spectrum of managed healthcare products and services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare and commercial products. We currently have operations domestically and internationally.
Established in 1965, Medicaid is the largest publicly funded program in the United States, and provides health insurance to low-income families and individuals with disabilities. Authorized by Title XIX of the Social Security Act, Medicaid is an entitlement program funded jointly by the federal and state governments and administered by the states. The majority of funding is provided by the federal government. Each state establishes its own eligibility standards, benefit packages, payment
rates and program administration within federal standards. As a result, there are 56 Medicaid programs - one for each U.S. state, each U.S. territory and the District of Columbia. Eligibility is based on a combination of household income and assets, often determined by an income level relative to the federal poverty level. Historically, children have represented the largest eligibility group. Many states have selected Medicaid managed care as a means of delivering quality healthcare and controlling costs. We refer to these states as mandatory managed care states.
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid coverage was expanded to all individuals under age 65 with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, subject to the states' elections. The federal government paid the entire costs for Medicaid Expansion coverage for newly eligible beneficiaries from 2014 through 2016, 95% of the costs in 2017, 94% of the costs in 2018, 93% of the costs in 2019, and 90% of the costs in 2020. Assuming that the current program remains in effect unchanged, in subsequent years the federal share is scheduled to remain at 90%.
Established in 1972 and authorized by Title XVI of the Social Security Act, the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (ABD) program covers low-income persons with chronic physical disabilities or behavioral health impairments. ABD beneficiaries represent a growing portion of all Medicaid recipients. In addition, ABD recipients typically utilize more services as a result of their more complicated health status.
The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 created the State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to help states expand coverage primarily to children whose families earned too much to qualify for Medicaid, yet not enough to afford private health insurance. Costs related to the largest eligibility group, children, are primarily composed of pediatrics and family care. These costs tend to be more predictable than those associated with other healthcare issues which predominantly affect the adult population.
Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) is a Medicaid product that covers Institutional/Residential Care (Nursing Facilities, Intermediate Care Facilities) and Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) for beneficiaries requiring assistance with their activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and transferring. The most common HCBS services include personal care, adult day care, non-emergent transportation, home-delivered meals and personal emergency response systems. LTSS services are provided for individuals requiring nursing home level of care, receiving waiver services, or entitled to state Medicaid LTSS benefits. The largest groups receiving LTSS, by spending, are older individuals and individuals with physical disabilities, followed by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, those with serious mental illness and/or serious emotional disturbance and other populations. States are increasingly turning to managed care as a solution to provide coordinated, holistic care to their LTSS beneficiaries. According to ADvancing States (formerly National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities), as of November 2020, 25 states utilize some form of managed LTSS, up from eight in 2004.
The majority of youth and children in foster care qualify for Medicaid, most commonly through Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, which provides funding to support safe and stable out-of-home care for children who are removed from their homes. The federal government has enacted legislation establishing guidelines and requirements for state child welfare agencies related to the health and well-being of children in foster care, including the provision of grants and technical assistance to enable states to meet these needs and make explicit connections with state Medicaid. In addition, the ACA requires states to make former foster care children eligible for Medicaid until they reach the age of 26, provided that they turned 18 while in foster care, and were enrolled in Medicaid at that time.
CMS estimated the total Medicaid market to be approximately $649 billion in 2020, and estimates the market will grow to over $1.0 trillion by 2028. Medicaid spending is estimated to have increased by 4.5% in 2020 and is projected to increase at an average annual rate of 5.7% between 2020 and 2028. Due to the timing of the CMS report and highly uncertain nature of the pandemic, the aforementioned projections do not take into account the impact of COVID-19.
A portion of Medicaid beneficiaries are dual-eligible, low-income seniors and people with disabilities who are enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare. According to CMS, there were approximately 11.0 million dual-eligible enrollees in 2019. These dual-eligible members may receive assistance from Medicaid for benefits, such as nursing home care, HCBS, and/or assistance with Medicare premiums and cost sharing. Dual-eligibles also use more services due to their tendency to have more chronic health issues. We serve dual-eligibles through our ABD, LTSS, Medicare-Medicaid Plans (MMP), Medicare Advantage Dual Special Needs Plan (DSNP) and standard Medicare Advantage lines of business.
While Medicaid programs have directed funds to many individuals who cannot afford or otherwise maintain health insurance coverage, they did not initially address the inefficient and costly manner in which the Medicaid population tends to access healthcare. Medicaid recipients in non-managed care programs typically have not sought preventive care or routine treatment for chronic conditions, such as asthma and diabetes. Rather, they have sought healthcare in hospital emergency departments, which is typically more expensive. As a result, many states without managed care programs have found that the costs of providing Medicaid benefits have increased while the medical outcomes for the recipients remained unsatisfactory.
We believe managed care has improved the quality of care for Medicaid beneficiaries and lowered costs. The majority of states have mandated that their Medicaid recipients enroll in managed care plans. Other states are considering moving to a mandated managed care approach for additional populations and products. As a result, we believe a significant market opportunity exists for managed care organizations with operations and programs focused on the distinct socio-economic, cultural and healthcare needs of the uninsured population and the Medicaid populations.
We contract with CMS under the Medicare Advantage program to provide Medicare Advantage products directly to Medicare beneficiaries as well as through employer and union groups. The Medicare program provides health care coverage primarily to individuals age 65 or older, as well as to individuals with certain disabilities.
We provide or arrange healthcare benefits for services normally covered by Medicare, plus a broad range of healthcare benefits for services not covered by traditional Medicare, usually in exchange for a fixed monthly premium per member from CMS that varies based upon the county in which the member resides, demographic factors of the member such as age, gender and institutionalized status, and the health status of the member. Any benefits that are not covered by Medicare may result in an additional monthly premium charged to the enrollee or through portions of payments received from CMS that may be allocated to these benefits, according to CMS regulations and guidance. Many of our Medicare Advantage members pay no monthly premium to us for these additional benefits. As our Medicare Advantage members reach their deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, our medical costs rise, creating seasonality in the business with a higher percentage of earnings in the first half of the year.
We provide a wide range of Medicare products, including Medicare Advantage plans with and without prescription drug coverage and Medicare supplement products that supplement traditional fee-for-service Medicare coverage. Our subsidiaries have a number of contracts with CMS under the Medicare Advantage program authorized under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act.
CMS developed the Medicare Advantage Star ratings system to help consumers choose among competing plans, awarding between 1.0 and 5.0 stars to Medicare Advantage plans based on performance in certain measures of quality. The Star ratings are used by CMS to award quality bonus payments to Medicare Advantage plans. Beginning with the 2014 Star ratings (calculated in 2013), Medicare Advantage plans are required to achieve a minimum of 4.0 Stars to qualify for a quality bonus payment. The methodology and measures included in the Star ratings system can be modified by CMS annually and Star ratings thresholds are based on performance of Medicare Advantage plans nationally.
CMS estimated the total Medicare market was approximately $859 billion in 2020, and estimates the market will grow to approximately $1.6 trillion by 2028. Medicare spending is estimated to have increased 7.2% in fiscal 2020 and is projected to increase at an average annual rate of 7.7% between 2020 and 2028.
Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
Through our acquisition of WellCare in January 2020, we now offer stand-alone PDP to Medicare beneficiaries. We have contracted with CMS to serve as a plan sponsor, offering stand-alone Medicare Part D PDP plans to Medicare-eligible beneficiaries. We offer PDPs in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Our PDPs offer national in-network prescription drug coverage, including a preferred pharmacy network, subject to limitations in certain circumstances.
Our PDP contracts with CMS are renewable for successive one-year terms unless CMS notifies us of its decision not to renew by May 1 of the current contract year or we notify CMS of our decision not to renew by the first Monday in June of the contract year.
The Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit is supported by risk sharing with the federal government through risk corridors designed to limit the losses and gains of the participating drug plans and by reinsurance for catastrophic drug costs. The government subsidy is based on the national weighted average monthly bid for this coverage, adjusted for risk factor payments. Additional subsidies are provided for dually-eligible beneficiaries and specified low-income beneficiaries.
Established in 2010 and operational in 2014, the ACA created Health Insurance Marketplaces, which are a key component of the ACA and provide an opportunity for individuals and families to obtain health insurance. States have the option of operating
their own Marketplace or partnering with the federal government. States choosing neither option currently default to a federally-facilitated Marketplace. Premium subsidies are available to make coverage more affordable. Access to Marketplaces is limited to U.S. citizens and legal immigrants. Insurers are required to offer a minimum level of benefits with coverage that varies based on premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Premium subsidies are provided to individuals and families without access to other coverage and with incomes generally between 100-400% of the federal poverty level, with some exceptions, to help them purchase insurance through the Marketplaces. These subsidies are offered on a sliding scale basis.
We also offer commercial healthcare products to individuals through large and small employer groups. We offer plans with differing benefit designs and varying levels of co-payments at different premium rates. These plans are offered generally through contracts with participating network physicians, hospitals and other providers. Coverage typically is subject to copays and can be subject to deductibles and coinsurance. As our commercial members reach their deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, our medical costs rise, creating seasonality in the business with a higher percentage of earnings in the first half of the year.
We have a growing international presence in Spain, the United Kingdom (UK) and Slovakia. Our presence in Spain is mainly associated with our subsidiaries operating as part of the Ribera Salud Group, which manages health administration concessions and private hospitals in various regions in Spain. Ribera Salud Group also holds a noncontrolling investment in Slovakia, which provides radiology services in the region. In the UK, our subsidiaries, operating as part of Operose Health Group, represent one of the largest provider networks in the country and deliver medical and community based services in the primary care sector of the National Health Service (NHS), which is the publicly funded, national healthcare system for England. We also have a noncontrolling investment in the UK in Circle Health Group, which includes BMI Healthcare and represents the UK’s largest independent hospital operator.
OUR COMPETITIVE STRENGTHS
Our approach is based on the following key competitive strengths:
•Expertise in Government Sponsored Programs. For more than 35 years, we have developed a specialized services expertise that has helped us establish and maintain relationships with members, providers and our government customers. We have implemented programs developed to achieve savings for our government customers and support providers with tools and information to improve health outcomes and quality of care for members. We work to assist the states in which we operate in addressing the operating challenges they face.
•Quality and Innovation. Our innovative population health management programs focus on improving quality of care in areas that have the greatest impact on our members. We concentrate on serving the whole person to impact outcomes and costs. We recognize the importance of member-focused delivery of quality managed care services and have developed award winning education and outreach programs including the My Health Pays program, Start Smart for Your Baby, Living Well with Sickle Cell, Fluvention and MemberConnections. It is our objective to provide access to the highest quality of care for our members. As a validation of that objective, we pursue accreditation by independent organizations that have been established to promote healthcare quality. We seek the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) Health Plan Accreditation in eligible states.
•Innovative Technology and Scalable Systems. The ability to access data and translate it into meaningful information is essential to operating across a multi-state service area in a cost-effective manner. Our centralized information systems support our core processing functions under a set of integrated databases and are designed to be both replicable and scalable to accommodate organic growth and growth from acquisitions. We continue to enhance our systems in order to leverage the platforms we have developed for our existing states for configuration into new states or health plan acquisitions. We believe our predictive modeling technology enables our population health management operations to proactively case and disease manage specific high risk members. It can recommend medical care opportunities using a mix of company defined algorithms and evidence based medical guidelines. Interventions are determined by the clinical indicators, the ability to improve health outcomes, and the risk profile of members. We believe our integrated approach helps to assure that consistent sources of claim and member information are provided across all of our health plans. Our membership and claims processing systems are capable of expanding to support additional members in an efficient manner.
•Financial Strength and Scale. We are a large healthcare enterprise with $111.1 billion in revenue and $5.5 billion in operating cash flow in 2020. Our strong historical operating performance, size, and scale allow us to continue to grow, diversify and invest in our businesses through strategic acquisitions and investments in technology and other resources that support our business, allowing us to navigate the changing healthcare landscape. We are a leader in the four largest Medicaid states. We seek to continue to increase our Medicaid, Medicare and Health Insurance Marketplace membership through alliances with key providers, outreach efforts, development and implementation of community-specific products and acquisitions. In 2020, we expanded our Health Insurance Marketplace footprints in several existing markets, and we completed the WellCare Acquisition, further expanding our scale and presence. In addition, in 2019 a nationally recognized statistical rating organization raised our long-term issuer credit rating to an investment grade rating.
•Diversified Business Lines. We continue to broaden our service offerings to address areas that we believe have been traditionally under-served by Medicaid and Medicare managed care organizations. In addition to our Medicaid and Medicare services, our service offerings include commercial programs, PDP, correctional healthcare services, government-sponsored care under federal contracts with the Department of Defense (DoD), and other various specialty services. Through the utilization of a multi-business line approach, we are able to improve the quality of care, improve outcomes, diversify our revenues and help control our medical costs. In 2020, we served members in all 50 states through approximately 450 product solutions. We are constantly evaluating new opportunities for expansion both domestically and abroad.
•Localized Approach with Centralized Support Infrastructure. We take a localized approach to managing our subsidiaries, including provider and member services. This approach enables us to facilitate access by our members to high quality, culturally sensitive healthcare services. Our systems and procedures have been designed to address these community-specific challenges through outreach, education, transportation and other member support activities. For example, our community outreach programs work with our members and their communities to promote health and self-improvement through education on how best to access care. We complement this localized approach with a centralized infrastructure of support functions such as finance, information systems and claims processing, which allows us to minimize selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses and to integrate and realize synergies from acquisitions. We believe this combined approach allows us to efficiently integrate new business opportunities in both Managed Care and Specialty Services, while maintaining our local accountability and improved access.
Benefits to Customers
We feel that our ability to establish and maintain a leadership position in the markets we serve results primarily from our demonstrated success in providing quality care while reducing and managing costs, and from our specialized programs with state governments. Among the benefits we are able to provide to the states with which we contract are:
•Significant cost savings and budget predictability compared to state paid reimbursement for services. We bring experience relating to quality of care improvement methods, utilization management procedures, an efficient claims payment system, and provider performance reporting, as well as managers and staff experienced in using these key elements to improve the quality of and access to care. We generally receive a contracted premium on a per member basis and are responsible for the medical costs and, as a result, provide budget predictability.
•Data-driven approaches to balance cost and verify eligibility. We seek to ensure effective outreach procedures for new members, then educate them and ensure they receive needed services as quickly as possible. Our IT department has created mapping/translation programs for loading membership and linking membership eligibility status to all of Centene's systems. We utilize predictive modeling technology to proactively case and disease manage specific high risk members. In addition, we have developed Centelligence, our enterprise data warehouse system to provide a seamless flow of data across our organization, enabling providers and case managers to access information, apply analytical insight and make informed decisions.
•Establishment of realistic and meaningful expectations for quality deliverables. We have collaborated with state agencies in redefining benefits, eligibility requirements and provider fee schedules with the goal of maximizing the number of individuals covered through Medicaid.
•Managed care expertise in government subsidized programs. Our expertise in Medicaid has helped us establish and maintain strong relationships with our constituent communities of members, providers and state governments. We
provide access to services through local providers and staff that focus on the cultural norms of their individual communities. To that end, systems and procedures have been designed to address community-specific challenges through outreach, education, transportation and other member support activities.
•Improved quality and medical outcomes. We have implemented programs to enhance the ability of providers to improve the quality of healthcare delivered to our members. This is demonstrated through health plan accreditations and program awards.
•Timely payment of provider claims. We are committed to ensuring that our information systems and claims payment systems meet or exceed state requirements. We continuously endeavor to update our systems and processes to improve the timeliness of our provider payments.
•Provider outreach and programs. Our health plans have adopted a physician-driven approach where network providers are actively engaged in developing and implementing healthcare delivery policies and strategies. We prepare provider comparisons on a severity adjusted basis. This approach is designed to eliminate unnecessary costs, improve services to members and simplify the administrative burdens placed on providers.
•Care management for complex populations. Through our experience with Medicaid populations and long-time presence in states with experience in long-term care for children and adolescents in the foster care system, we have developed care management, service coordination and crisis prevention/response programs that increase opportunities for successful outcomes for members. This experience has led to partnerships with specialized networks and community advocates as states transition to managed care programs for vulnerable and complex populations.
•Responsible collection and dissemination of utilization data. We gather utilization data from multiple sources, allowing for an integrated view of our members' utilization of services. These sources include medical, vision and behavioral health claims and encounter data, pharmacy data, dental vendor claims and authorization data from the authorization and case management system utilized by us to coordinate care.
•Timely and accurate reporting. Our information systems have reporting capabilities which have been instrumental in identifying the need for new and/or improved healthcare and specialty programs. For state agencies, our reporting capability is important in demonstrating an auditable program.
•Fraud, waste and abuse prevention. We have several systems in place to help identify, detect and investigate potential fraud, waste, and abuse, including pre- and post-payment review software. We collaborate with state and federal agencies and assist with investigation requests. We use nationally recognized standards to benchmark our processes.
Member Programs and Services
We recognize the importance of member-focused delivery of quality managed care services. Our locally-based staff assists members in accessing care, coordinating referrals to related health and social services and addressing member concerns and questions. While covered healthcare benefits vary from customer to customer and program to program, our health plans generally provide the following services:
•primary and specialty physician care;
•inpatient and outpatient hospital care;
•emergency and urgent care;
•prenatal and postpartum care;
•laboratory and x-ray services;
•home-based primary care;
•prescriptions and limited over-the-counter drugs;
•provision of durable medical equipment;
•behavioral health and substance abuse services;
•24-hour nurse advice line;
•social work services; and
We also provide a comprehensive set of education and outreach programs to inform, assist and incentivize members to access quality, appropriate healthcare services in an efficient manner. Many of these programs have been recognized with awards for their excellence in education, outreach and/or case management techniques. These awards include Case In Point, Hermes Awards, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Health Information Awards.
•Start Smart for Your Baby, or Start Smart, is our award winning prenatal and infant health program designed to increase the percentage of pregnant people receiving early prenatal care, reduce the incidence of low-birth-weight and pre-term babies, identify high-risk pregnancies, increase participation in the federal Women, Infant and Children program, prevent hospital admissions in the first year of life and increase well-child visits. The Neonatal Admissions program is an extension of the Start Smart for Your Baby program with a focus on newborns who have a hospital stay longer than standard after delivery, including those with admissions to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The program strives for timely identification of neonatal admissions to coordinate care and provide member education, resources and member-specific care plans to keep both birth parent and baby safe and healthy in the home environment upon discharge from the hospital.
•Readmission Reduction aims to reduce preventable readmissions by ensuring optimal transitional care from acute and non-acute settings. The program focuses on post-hospitalization outreach (PHO), calls to members to verify they understand their discharge instructions, follow up with a Primary Care Physician (PCP), receive medication reconciliation, and, for the highest-risk members, are linked with a Community Health Worker.
•Chronic Conditions aims to improve the health and quality of life for members with diabetes, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), coronary artery disease (CAD), and/or hypertension. The program focuses on reducing emergent utilization and inpatient admissions by increasing treatment adherence, removing barriers to care, and enhancing self-management skills.
•Fall Prevention seeks to decrease the number and severity of older adult falls. The program also aims to support members in maintaining their safety, stability, and independence as long as possible. The program leverages an evidence-based falls prevention toolkit to identify members at risk of falling and provide education and interventions to reduce fall risk.
•Compassionate Connections (Palliative Care) works to identify members with at least one serious illness and provide necessary services to both members and those individuals close to them. Potential services may include detailed advanced care planning, a multi-team home visit and home health services, and additional social support. Providing palliative care services works to help alleviate members' suffering, and in turn, provide a better quality of life.
•Emergency Department Diversion strives to identify members' reasons for visiting the emergency department and connect them with the right care, at the right time, in the right place in the future. The program also identifies opportunities for members to better manage their chronic conditions with the help of PCPs and Care Managers.
•Fluvention works to decrease the spread of the flu by increasing the number of members that receive a timely annual flu vaccination. This multi-layered campaign is designed to promote vaccinations as the key to flu prevention. Centene works to address these issues by utilizing enterprise-wide member and provider marketing and education, as well as increasing access to facilities that provide flu vaccinations.
•Connections Plus is a cell phone program developed for high-risk members who have limited or no safe and reliable access to telephone. This program seeks to eliminate lack of safe, reliable access to a telephone as a barrier to coordinating care, thus reducing avoidable adverse events such as inappropriate emergency department utilization, hospital admissions and premature birth.
•MemberConnections is a community face-to-face outreach and education program designed to create a link between the member, provider and the care team to help identify potential challenges or risk elements to a member's health, such as nutritional challenges and health education gaps.
•Hepatitis C Care Management Program seeks to empower patients towards Hepatitis C virus treatment success through a series of telephonic interventions. Goals of the program include preventing premature treatment discontinuation due to medication side effects and access to therapy. Through its family of companies, Envolve clinicians and AcariaHealth patient care coordinators collaborate throughout a patient's treatment course to ensure appropriate therapy management and regimen access.
•Health Initiatives for Children is aimed at educating child members on a variety of health topics. In order to empower and educate children, we have partnered with a nationally recognized children's author to develop our own children's book series on topics such as obesity prevention and healthy eating, asthma, diabetes, foster care, the ills of smoking, anti-bullying and heart health.
•OpiEnd Youth Challenge is a targeted curriculum for adolescents ages 9 through 14 to raise awareness about opioid misuse and prevention. As part of the challenge, teachers and students discuss significant attributes of addiction and opioid misuse, and students then show their understanding by developing and submitting campaign messaging that depicts ways to prevent misuse.
•Health Initiatives for Teens is aimed at empowering, educating and reinforcing life skills with our teenage members. We have developed an educational series that addresses health issues, dealing with chronic diseases including diabetes and asthma, as well as teen pregnancy.
•Living Well with Sickle Cell is our innovative program that assists with coordination of care for our members with sickle cell disease. Our program ensures that members with sickle cell disease have established a medical home and work on strategies to reduce emergency department visits through disease self-management strategies, medication adherence and proper treatment to control symptoms, pain and chronic complications.
•My Route for Health is our adult educational series used with our case management and disease management programs. The topics of this series include how to manage asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), diabetes, heart disease and HIV.
•Community Health Record, our patient-centric electronic database, collects patient demographic data, clinician visit records, dispensed medications, vital sign history, lab results, allergy charts, and immunization data. Providers can directly input additional or updated patient data and documentation into the database. All information is accessible anywhere, anytime to all authorized users, including health plan staff, greatly facilitating coordinated care among providers.
•My Health Pays offers members financial incentives for performing certain healthy behaviors. The incentives are delivered through a restricted-use prepaid debit card. This incentive-based approach effectively increases the utilization of preventive services while strengthening the relationships between members and their primary care providers.
•The Asthma Management Program integrates a hands-on approach with a flexible outreach methodology that can be customized to suit different age groups and populations affected by asthma. We provide proactive identification of members, stratification into appropriate levels of intervention including home visits, culturally sensitive education, and robust outcome reporting. The program also includes aggressive care coordination to ensure patients have basic services such as transportation to the doctor, electricity to power the nebulizer, and a clean, safe home environment.
•Preventive Care Programs are designed to educate our members on the benefits of Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) services. We have a systematic program of communicating, tracking, outreach, reporting and follow-through that promotes state EPSDT programs.
•Outcomes Improvement Central (OIC) is a highly collaborative initiative that empowers partners across the organization to develop evidence-based clinical programs to promote best practice information sharing, and to establish measurable outcomes for clinical studies. The OIC also serves as a repository of enterprise pilots and programs intended to improve the members' health outcomes.
•Promotores Health Network (PHN) is a volunteer-driven community health network designed to improve the community's health through health education specific to health conditions impacting their community and providing guidance and linkage to healthcare services and local resources. PHN provides face-to-face education to members where they live, shop, worship and congregate.
•myStrength ("The health club for your mind") is a web and mobile self-help resource to manage depression, anxiety, substance use, and chronic pain. myStrength empowers members to be active participants in their journey to becoming and staying mentally and physically healthy.
•OpiEnd is a clinical program designed to identify members at risk for an opioid abuse diagnosis based on a series of critical social and clinical indicators called the Opioid Risk Classification Algorithm (ORCA). Providers will leverage this risk score to flag members for case management and other appropriate interventions. High risk members identified by ORCA will receive educational outreach to provide evidenced-based resources to support pain addiction.
•Strong Beginnings addresses the rising US rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS). The program aims to support pregnant people at risk for substance use disorder through case management and care coordination, and to support their providers through incentives and plan of safe care guidance.
For each of our service areas, we establish a provider network consisting of primary and specialty care physicians, hospitals and ancillary providers. Our network of primary care physicians is a critical component of care delivery, cost management and the attraction and retention of new members. Primary care physicians include family and general practitioners, pediatricians, internal medicine physicians and obstetricians and gynecologists. Specialty care physicians provide medical care to members generally upon referral by primary care physicians. Specialty care physicians include, but are not limited to, orthopedic surgeons, cardiologists and otolaryngologists. We also provide education and outreach programs to inform and assist members in accessing quality, appropriate healthcare services.
Our health plans facilitate access to healthcare services for our members primarily through contracts with our providers. Our contracts with primary and specialty care physicians and hospitals usually are for one to three-year periods and renew automatically for successive one-year terms, but generally are subject to termination by either party upon prior written notice. In the absence of a contract, we typically pay providers at applicable state or federal reimbursement levels, depending on the product (e.g., Medicaid or Medicare). We pay providers under a variety of methods, including fee-for-service, capitation arrangements, and value-based arrangements.
•Under our fee-for-service contracts with providers, we pay a negotiated fee for covered services. This model is characterized as having no financial risk for the provider.
•Under our capitated contracts, providers can be paid a set amount for their services as outlined in their respective provider agreements. A provider group's financial instability or failure to pay secondary providers for services rendered could lead secondary providers to demand payment from us, even though we have made our regular capitated payments to the provider group. Depending on state law and the regulatory environment, it may be necessary for us to pay such claims.
•Under value-based arrangements, providers can be paid under either a capitated or fee-for-service model. The arrangement, however, contains provisions for additional payments to the providers or reimbursement from the providers based upon their performance in cost and quality measures.
In addition, we maintain a network of qualified physicians, facilities, and ancillary providers in the prime service areas of our TRICARE contract. Services are provided on a fee-for-service basis.
We often start our provider relationships in a pay-for-performance arrangement before we transition to a risk-sharing arrangement, which is based on the total cost of care. As we advance along this continuum, it strengthens our partnerships with our providers, enabling the delivery of high quality care.
We work with physicians to help them operate efficiently by providing actionable financial and utilization information, physician and patient educational programs and disease and population health management programs. Our programs are also designed to help physicians coordinate care rendered by other providers.
We believe our local and collaborative approach with physicians and other providers gives us a competitive advantage in entering new markets. Our physicians serve on local committees that assist us in implementing preventive care programs, managing costs and improving the overall quality of care delivered to our members, while also simplifying the administrative
burdens on our providers. This approach has enabled us to strengthen our provider networks through improved physician recruitment and retention that, in turn, has helped to increase our membership base. The following are among the services we provide to support physicians:
•Provider Engagement Performance Tools and Processes lead to measurable improvements in quality and health outcomes, healthcare costs, and member satisfaction. High quality and service levels are important as our key customers are increasingly using performance-based measures to select and pay health plans. We have a suite of network performance tools for use by physicians and other providers which monitor the outcomes and care gaps of their individual patient panels. We meet with the providers to review their performance issues and recommend strategies for improvements in their patient panel outcomes. Our tools also allow the physician and others to see where they stand within their value-based contract.
•Integrated Care Model is member-centric and managed by one care manager assigned to a member who looks at the total care for the member in a holistic manner. This single care manager will coordinate all care for that member including behavioral health, medical health, and home-based primary care in accordance with an individualized, integrated care plan. This care manager also coordinates meetings with the member's integrated care team to assess and alter the care plan as needed. This results in better outcomes and improvement in member satisfaction.
•Provider Portal provides claims and eligibility research, prior authorizations, member panels, care gaps, patient analytics, and provider analytics meant to drive provider engagement and improved patient outcomes. Data and reporting are delivered via a secure, user-friendly web-based provider portal. This is provided through our suite of proprietary technology developed by Interpreta, Apixio and Casenet.
Our contracted physicians also benefit from several of the services offered to our members, including the MemberConnections, EPSDT case management and population health management programs. For example, the MemberConnections staff facilitates doctor/patient relationships by connecting members with physicians, the EPSDT programs encourage routine checkups for children with their physicians and the population health management programs assist physicians in managing their patients with chronic disease.
Where appropriate, our health plans contract with our specialty services organizations to provide services and programs such as care management software, dental benefits management, home-based primary care services, life and population health management, managed vision, pharmacy benefits management, specialty pharmacy and telehealth services. When necessary, we also contract with third-party providers on a negotiated fee arrangement for physical therapy, home healthcare, diagnostic laboratory tests, x-ray examinations, transportation, ambulance services and durable medical equipment.
Our population health programs focus on improving quality of care in areas that have the greatest impact on our members. We employ strategies, including complex case management, which are adjusted for implementation in our individual markets by a system of physician committees chaired by local physician leaders. This process promotes physician participation and support, both critical factors in the success of any clinical quality improvement program.
We have implemented specialized information systems to support our quality management activities. Information is drawn from our data warehouse, clinical databases and our membership and claims processing system to identify opportunities to improve care and to track the outcomes of the interventions implemented to achieve those improvements. Some examples of these programs include:
•use of nationally recognized InterQual or Milliman criteria to help ensure our members receive the right level of care in the most appropriate setting;
•pre-authorized high-risk medication and services that are commonly over or inappropriately prescribed;
•member education and the provision of appropriate and easily accessed urgent care services to help members avoid unnecessary and costly emergency department visits and improve their healthcare experience;
•emphasis on care management and care coordination where clinicians, such as nurses and social workers who are employed to assist high-risk and other selected members with the coordination of healthcare services that meet their specific needs;
•disease management for chronic illnesses, such as asthma and diabetes through a comprehensive, multidisciplinary and collaborative approach;
•prenatal case management for those with high-risk pregnancies to help them deliver full-term, healthy infants; and
•pharmacy treatment compliance programs driven by evidence-based clinical policies and focused on identifying the appropriate medication in the correct dose, delivered in an efficient format and utilized for the correct duration.
We provide reporting on a regular basis using our data warehouse. State and Health Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS) reporting constitutes the core of the information base that drives our clinical quality performance efforts. This reporting is monitored by health plan quality improvement committees and our corporate population health management and quality improvement teams.
In an effort to ensure the quality of our provider networks, we verify the credentials and background of our providers using standards that are supported by NCQA.
It is our objective to provide access to the highest quality of care for our members. As a validation of that objective, we pursue accreditation by independent organizations that have been established to promote healthcare quality. NCQA Health Plan Accreditation and URAC Health Plan Accreditation programs provide unbiased, third party reviews to verify and publicly report results on specific quality care metrics. While we have achieved or are pursuing accreditation for all of our plans, accreditation is only one measure of our ability to provide access to quality care for our members. We have achieved accreditation in 30 of 33 eligible states for at least one product (Medicare, Medicaid, or Commercial, including Health Insurance Marketplace).
CMS developed the Medicare Advantage Star ratings system to help consumers choose among competing plans, awarding between 1.0 and 5.0 stars to Medicare Advantage plans based on performance in certain measures of quality.
•For the 2020 Star rating (calculated in 2019 for the quality bonus payment in 2021), two contracts received a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars, two contracts received 4.0 Stars, four contracts received 3.5 Stars, and seven contracts received 3.0 Stars. In addition, for the 2020 Star rating, we carry a 3.5 Star parent organization rating. Approximately 46% of our Medicare members are in a 4 star or above plan for the 2021 bonus year.
•For the 2021 Star rating (calculated in 2020 for the quality bonus payment in 2022), two contracts received 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars, three contracts received 4.0 Stars, 17 contracts received 3.5 Stars, and 13 contracts received 3.0 Stars. In addition, for the 2021 Star rating, we carry a 3.5 Star parent organization rating. Approximately 30% of our Medicare members are in a 4 star or above plan for the 2022 bonus year.
The parent organization Star rating is used for new Medicare contracts, while existing contracts follow their individual Star ratings to determine bonus payments. We remain committed to our quality initiatives and continue to invest in the programs which we expect to translate into value over the next few years.
Our specialty services are a key component of our healthcare strategy and complement our core Managed Care business. Our specialty services diversify our revenue stream, enhance the quality of health outcomes for our members and others, and allow Centene to manage costs.
Our Envolve brand brings together our extensive portfolio of specialty healthcare solutions. Envolve leverages our collective expertise to provide integrated and comprehensive healthcare for members and other organizations.
•Pharmacy Solutions. Envolve Pharmacy Solutions utilizes innovative, flexible solutions and customized care management. We offer traditional pharmacy benefits management as well as comprehensive specialized pharmacy benefit services through our specialty pharmacy businesses, AcariaHealth and PANTHERx. Our traditional pharmacy benefits management program offers progressive pharmacy benefits management services that are specifically designed to improve quality of care while containing costs. This is achieved through a low cost strategy that helps optimize clients' pharmacy benefits. Services that we provide include claims processing, pharmacy network management, benefit design consultation, drug utilization review, formulary and rebate management, online drug
management tools, mail order pharmacy services, home delivery services, analytics and clinical consulting and patient and physician intervention. AcariaHealth offers specialized care management services for complex diseases and enhances the patient care offering through collaboration with providers and the capture of relevant data to measure patient outcomes. PANTHERx serves patients afflicted with rare and devastating conditions through delivering orphan medications to people living with complicated rare diseases.
•Nurse Advice Line & After-Hours Support. Envolve's Nurse Advice Line brings together our nurse advice, telehealth, and health and wellness programs, allowing for a focus on individual health management through education and empowerment. We offer telehealth services where members engage with customer service representatives and nursing staff who provide health education and triage advice and offer continuous access to health plan functions. Our staff can arrange for urgent pharmacy refills, transportation and qualified behavioral health professionals for crisis stabilization assessments.
•Vision and Dental Services. Envolve coordinates benefits beyond traditional medical benefits to offer fully integrated vision and dental health services. Our vision benefit program administers routine and medical surgical eye care benefits through a contracted national network of eye care providers. Through the dental benefit, we are dedicated to improving oral health through a contracted network of dental healthcare providers.
Health Care Enterprises
Our Health Care Enterprises companies aim to improve health outcomes by developing innovative technologies and utilizing efficient care models to reduce healthcare costs.
•Clinical Healthcare. Community Medical Group (CMG) provides clinical healthcare, encompassing primary care, access to certain specialty services, and a suite of social and other support services. CMG operates in Florida through an at-risk primary care provider model, focusing on clinical and social care to at-risk beneficiaries.
•Data Analytics. Interpreta uses its analytics engine to provide real-time insights to providers, care managers, and payers in the areas of member prioritization, quality management, and risk adjustment. Interpreta's solutions are used by our health plans and available for sale to third parties. Apixio, one of our healthcare analytics companies offers, among other solutions, artificial intelligence (AI) technology which performs retrospective chart reviews for more accurate risk score submission to CMS. Apixio provides services to third party customers as well as our health plans. These businesses continue to digitize the administration of healthcare and accelerate innovation and modernization across the enterprise.
•Home-Based Primary Care. U.S. Medical Management (USMM) provides home-based primary care services for high acuity populations and participates as an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) through the CMS Medicare Shared Savings Program.
Other Specialty Companies
Our other specialty companies provide a variety of products and services to complement and expand our business lines.
•Correctional Healthcare Services. Centurion provides comprehensive healthcare services to individuals incarcerated in state correctional facilities and detainees in detention facilities in various states. Centurion also provides staffing services to correctional systems and other government agencies.
•Federal Services. Health Net Federal Services has a Managed Support Contract in the West Region for the Department of Defense (DoD) TRICARE program. We provide administrative services to Military Health System eligible beneficiaries, which includes eligible active duty service members and their families, retired service members and their families, survivors of retired service members and qualified former spouses.
•Third Party Administration. HealthSmart provides customizable and scalable health plan solutions for self-funded employers, universities and colleges, and Native American Tribal Enterprises. Service offerings include plan administration, care management and wellness programs, network, casualty claim, and pharmacy benefit solutions.
We currently have NCQA accreditation and/or URAC accreditation for several of our specialty companies.
Our Ethics and Compliance program assists the organization in developing effective internal controls that promote prevention and detection of fraud, waste and abuse and resolution of instances of conduct that do not conform to federal and state law and private payor healthcare program requirements, as well as our own ethics and business policies. Responsibilities also include the ongoing maintenance of our privacy program and oversight of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as they pertain to us and our business units from a compliance, business, and technical perspective.
Three standards by which corporate compliance programs in the healthcare industry are measured are the Federal Organizational Sentencing Guidelines, the CMS Chapter Guidance and the Compliance Program Guidance series issued by the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Our program contains each of the seven elements suggested by these authorities. These key components are:
•written standards of conduct;
•designation of compliance officers and compliance committees;
•effective training and education;
•effective lines for reporting and communication;
•enforcement of standards through well-publicized disciplinary guidelines and actions;
•internal monitoring and auditing; and
•prompt response to detected offenses and development of corrective action plans.
The goal of our program is to build a culture of ethics and compliance, which is assessed periodically to measure the values and engagement of the organization. Our Corporate Compliance intranet site, accessible to all employees, contains our Compliance Program description, our Business Ethics and Code of Conduct Policy, and resources for employees to report concerns or ask questions. If needed, employees have access to the contact information for our Board of Directors' Audit Committee Chairman to report concerns. Our Ethics and Compliance Helpline is a toll-free number and web-based reporting tool operated by a third party independent of the Company and allows employees or other persons to report suspected incidents of misconduct, fraud, waste, abuse or other compliance violations anonymously. Furthermore, our Board of Directors has established a Corporate Compliance Committee that, among other things, reviews ethics and compliance reports on a quarterly basis.
ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL, HEALTH, GOVERNANCE AND CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY
Centene's steadfast commitment to the environment, the health and social well-being of our communities, and our culture of sound and ethical corporate governance extends far beyond individual programs or initiatives. Through the delivery of high-quality healthcare to at-risk populations, our responsibilities to members, stakeholders, and our planet serve as a living expression of our purpose – transforming the health of communities, one person at a time. Continued focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matters remain foundational to supporting our strategy and long-term value creation. These themes were vital as executive leaders from across the enterprise completed an ESG assessment early in 2020. The results of this work led to the development of Centene's Environmental, Social, Health, and Governance (ESHG) Strategic Framework (the Framework), which incorporates our commitment to healthy individuals and healthy communities. Also in 2020, we formed a board-level Environmental and Social Responsibility Committee to oversee implementation of the Framework and formalized a cross-functional work group comprised of executive representatives to advance ESHG initiatives throughout the organization. In December 2020, we issued a Report to the Community to communicate the value of our ESHG efforts. The formalization of Centene’s ESHG Framework enables us to align our business strategy and long-term planning with our commitments to protect our planet, serve our communities, cultivate healthier lives, and live our values. Interested parties can find our December 2020 Environmental, Social, Health and Governance Report within the Investors section of our website, the URL of which is https://www.centene.com/who-we-are/corporate-facts-reports.html. Nothing on our website, including our Environmental, Social, Health and Governance Report or sections thereof, shall be deemed incorporated by reference into this Annual Report.
We operate in a highly competitive environment in an industry subject to ongoing significant changes, including business consolidations, new strategic alliances, market pressures, and regulatory and legislative reform both at the federal and state level. This includes, but is not limited to, the federal and state healthcare reform legislation described under the heading "Regulation." In addition, changes to the political environment may drive additional changes to the competitive landscape.
In our business, our principal competitors for customers, members, and providers consist of the following types of organizations:
•National and Regional Commercial Managed Care Organizations that focus on providing healthcare services to Medicaid, Medicare and correctional members in addition to members in marketplace and private commercial plans. These organizations consist of national and regional organizations, as well as not-for-profits and organizations that operate in a small geographic location and are owned by providers (primarily hospitals). Some of these organizations offer a range of specialty services including pharmacy benefits management, behavioral health management, population health management, correctional healthcare management, and nurse triage call support centers.
•Primary Care Case Management Programs that are established by the states through contracts with primary care providers. Under these programs, physicians provide primary care services to Medicaid recipients, as well as limited population health management oversight.
•Accountable Care Organizations that consist of groups of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers, who come together to provide coordinated high quality care to their patients.
We compete with other Managed Care Organizations and specialty companies for state, county, federal, and commercial contracts. In addition, the impact of the ACA and potential growth in our segment may attract new competitors including technology companies, new joint ventures, financial services firms, consulting firms and other non-traditional competitors. Before granting a contract, state and federal government agencies consider many competitive factors. These factors include quality of care, financial condition, stability and resources, and established or scalable infrastructure with a demonstrated ability to deliver services and establish comprehensive provider networks. Our specialty companies compete with other providers, such as disease management companies, individual health insurance companies, and pharmacy benefits managers for non-governmental contracts.
We also compete to enroll new members and retain existing members. People who wish to enroll in a managed healthcare plan or to change healthcare plans typically choose a plan based on the quality of care and services offered, ease of access to services, a specific provider being part of the network and the availability of supplemental benefits. We believe that the principal competitive features affecting our ability to retain and increase membership include the range and prices of benefit plans offered, size and quality of provider network, quality of service, responsiveness to customer demands, financial stability, comprehensiveness of coverage, diversity of product offerings, market presence and reputation.
We also compete with other managed care organizations in establishing provider networks. When contracting with various health plans, we believe that providers consider existing and potential member volume, reimbursement rates, population health management programs, speed of reimbursement and administrative service capabilities. See "Risk Factors - Competition may limit our ability to increase penetration of the markets that we serve."
The relative importance of each of the aforementioned competitive factors and the identity of our key competitors varies by market, including by geography and by product. We believe that we compete effectively against other healthcare industry participants.
Our operations are comprehensively regulated at the local, state, and federal levels. Government regulation of the provision of healthcare products and services is a changing area of law that varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. States have implemented National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) model regulations, requiring governance practices and risk and solvency assessment reporting. States have adopted these or similar measures to enhance regulations relating to corporate governance and internal controls of health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and insurance companies. We are required to maintain a risk management framework and file reports with state insurance regulators.
Regulatory agencies generally have substantial discretion to issue regulations and interpret and enforce laws and rules. Changes in the regulatory environment and applicable laws and rules also may occur periodically, including in connection with changes in political party or administration at the state and federal levels. The ultimate content, timing or effect of any potential future legislation enacted under the new administration remains uncertain.
Our regulated subsidiaries are licensed to operate as HMOs, preferred provider organizations (PPOs), third party administrators, utilization review organizations, pharmacies, direct care providers and/or insurance companies in their respective states. In each of the jurisdictions in which we operate, we are regulated by the relevant insurance, health and/or human services departments,
departments of insurance, boards of pharmacy and other healthcare providers, and departments of health that oversee the activities of managed care organizations and health plans providing or arranging to provide services to enrollees.
The process for obtaining authorization to operate as a managed care organization, health insurance plan, prescription drug plan, pharmacy or provider organization is complex and requires us to demonstrate to the regulators the adequacy of the health plan's organizational structure, financial resources, utilization review, quality assurance programs, proper billing, complaint procedures, and an adequate provider network and procedures for covering emergency medical conditions. For example, under both state managed care organization statutes and insurance laws, our health plan subsidiaries, as well as our applicable specialty companies, must comply with minimum statutory capital and other financial solvency requirements, such as deposit and surplus requirements. Insurance regulations may also require prior state approval of acquisitions of other managed care organization businesses and the payment of dividends, as well as notice for loans or the transfer of funds. Our subsidiaries are also subject to periodic state and federal reporting requirements. In addition, each health plan and individual healthcare provider must meet criteria to secure the approval of state regulatory authorities before implementing certain operational changes, including without limitation changes to existing offerings, the development of new product offerings, certain organizational restructurings and, in some states, the expansion of service areas.
States have adopted a number of regulations that may affect our business and results of operations. These regulations in certain states include:
•premium taxes or similar assessments imposed on us;
•stringent prompt payment laws requiring us to pay claims within a specified period of time;
•disclosure requirements regarding provider fee schedules and coding procedures; and
•programs to monitor and supervise the activities and financial solvency of provider groups.
We are regulated as an insurance holding company and are subject to the insurance holding company acts of the states in which our insurance company and HMO subsidiaries are domiciled. These acts contain certain reporting requirements as well as restrictions on transactions between an insurer or HMO and its affiliates. These holding company laws and regulations generally require insurance companies and HMOs within an insurance holding company system to register with the insurance department of each state where they are domiciled and to file with those states' insurance departments reports describing capital structure, ownership, financial condition, intercompany transactions and general business operations. In addition, depending on the size and nature of the transaction, there are various notice and reporting requirements that generally apply to transactions between insurance companies and HMOs and their affiliates within an insurance holding company structure. Some insurance holding company laws and regulations require prior regulatory approval or, in certain circumstances, prior notice of certain material intercompany transfers of assets as well as certain transactions between insurance companies, HMOs, their parent holding companies and affiliates. Among other provisions, state insurance and HMO laws may restrict the ability of our regulated subsidiaries to pay dividends.
Additionally, the holding company regulations of the states in which our subsidiaries are domiciled restrict the ability of any person to obtain control of an insurance company or HMO without prior regulatory approval. Under those statutes, without such approval or an exemption, no person may acquire any voting security of an insurance holding company, which controls an insurance company or HMO, or merge with such a holding company, if as a result of such transaction such person would "control" the insurance holding company. "Control" is generally defined as the direct or indirect power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of a company and is presumed to exist if a person directly or indirectly owns or controls 10% or more of the voting securities of a company.
PPO regulation also varies by state and covers all or most of the subject area referred to above.
Our pharmacies must be licensed to do business as pharmacies in the states in which they are located. Our pharmacies must also register with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and individual state controlled substance authorities to dispense controlled substances. In many of the states where our pharmacies deliver pharmaceuticals, there are laws and regulations that require out-of-state mail order pharmacies to register with that state's board of pharmacy or similar regulatory body. These states generally permit the pharmacy to follow the laws of the state in which the mail order pharmacy is located, although some states require that we also comply with certain laws in that state.
Our healthcare providers must be licensed to practice medicine and do business as care providers in the state in which they are located. In addition, they must be in good standing with the applicable medical board, board of nursing or other applicable entity. Furthermore, they cannot be excluded from participation at either the state or federal levels. Our facilities are periodically reviewed by state departments of health and other regulatory agencies to ensure the environment is safe to provide care.
Federal law has also implemented other health programs that are partially funded by the federal government, such as the Medicaid and Medicare programs. Our Medicaid programs are regulated and administered by various state regulatory bodies. Federal funding remains critical to the viability of these programs. Federal law permits the federal government to oversee and, in some cases, to enact, regulations and other requirements that must be followed by states with respect to these programs. Medicaid is administered at the federal level by CMS. Comprehensive legislation, specifically Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, governs our Medicare program. In addition, our Medicare contracts are subject to regulation by CMS. CMS has the right to audit Medicare contractors and the healthcare providers and administrative contractors who provide certain services on their behalf to determine the quality of care being rendered and the degree of compliance with CMS contracts and regulations.
The ACA transformed the U.S. healthcare system through a series of complex initiatives. Some of the ACA's most significant provisions include the imposition of significant fees, assessments and taxes, including the non-deductible tax (technically called a "fee") on health insurers based on prior year net premiums written (the "health insurer fee" or "HIF"); the establishment of federally-facilitated and state-based Health Insurance Marketplaces where individuals and small groups may purchase health coverage; the implementation of certain premium stabilization programs designed to apportion risk amongst insurers; and the optional Medicaid Expansion. State and federal regulators have continued to provide additional guidance and specificity to the ACA, and we continue to monitor this new information and evaluate its potential impact on our business. In December 2018, a partial summary judgment ruling in Texas v. United States of America held that the ACA's individual mandate requirement was essential to the ACA, and without it, the remainder of the ACA was invalid (i.e., that it was not "severable" from the ACA). That decision was appealed to the Fifth Circuit, which ruled in December 2019 that the individual mandate was unconstitutional after Congress eliminated the individual mandate penalty, and remanded the case to the district court for additional analysis on the question of severability. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in November 2020 and a ruling is anticipated in 2021. The ACA remains in effect until judicial review of the decision is concluded. For a further discussion of the ACA, see "Risk Factors - The implementation of the ACA, as well as potential repeal of, changes to, or judicial challenges to the ACA, could materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial position and cash flows".
We must also comply with laws and regulations related to the award, administration and performance of U.S. Government contracts. Government contract laws and regulations affect how we do business with our customers and, in some instances, impose added costs on our business. Money laundering is a method of attempting to conceal the origins of money gained through illegal activity and is itself a crime that can result in substantial criminal and civil sanctions including fines and imprisonment. To ensure compliance with anti-money laundering laws and regulations, it is our policy to conduct business only with legitimate customers and counterparties whose funds are derived from legitimate commercial activity. In addition, as a result of our international operations, we are also subject to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and similar worldwide anti-corruption laws, including the U.K. Bribery Act of 2010, which generally prohibit companies and their intermediaries from making improper payments to non-U.S. officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. A violation of specific laws and regulations by us and/or our agents could result in, among other things, the imposition of fines and penalties on us, changes to our business practices, the termination of our contracts or debarment from bidding on contracts.
State and Federal Contracts
In addition to being a licensed insurance company or HMO, in order to be a Medicaid managed care organization in each of the states in which we operate, we generally must operate under a contract with the state's Medicaid agency. States generally either use a formal proposal process, reviewing a number of bidders, or award individual contracts to qualified applicants that apply for entry to the program. Under these state Medicaid program contracts, we receive monthly payments based on specified capitation rates determined on an actuarial basis. These rates differ by membership category and by state depending on the specific benefits and policies adopted by each state. In addition, several of our Medicaid contracts require us to maintain Medicare Advantage special needs plans, which are regulated by CMS, for dual eligible individuals within the state.
We provide Medicare Advantage, PDPs, DSNPs, and MMP which are provided under contracts with CMS and subject to federal regulation regarding the award, administration and performance of such contracts. CMS also has the right to audit our performance to determine our compliance with these contracts, as well as other CMS regulations and the quality of care we provide to Medicare beneficiaries under these contracts. We additionally provide behavioral and other healthcare services to correctional systems under contracts in certain states which are also subject to state regulation.
Our government contracts include government-sponsored managed care and administrative services contracts through the TRICARE program and certain other healthcare-related government contracts.
Our state and federal contracts and the regulatory provisions applicable to us generally set forth the requirements for operating in the Medicaid and Medicare sectors, including provisions relating to:
•eligibility, enrollment and dis-enrollment processes;
•record-keeping and record retention;
•periodic financial and informational reporting;
•health education and wellness and prevention programs;
•timeliness of claims payment;
•safeguarding of member information;
•fraud, waste and abuse detection and reporting;
•grievance procedures; and
•organization and administrative systems.
A health plan or individual health insurance provider's compliance with these requirements is subject to monitoring by state regulators and by CMS. A health plan is also subject to periodic comprehensive quality assurance evaluations by a third-party reviewing organization and generally by the insurance department of the jurisdiction that licenses the health plan. A health plan or individual health insurance provider must also submit reports to various regulatory agencies, including quarterly and annual statutory financial statements and utilization reports.
Our health plans operate through individual state contracts, generally with an initial term of one to five years. The contracts often have renewal or extension terms or are renewable through the state's reprocurement process. The contracts generally are subject to termination for cause, an event of default or lack of funding, among other things.
We operate in 22 states under federally-facilitated marketplace contracts with CMS and state-based exchanges. Both contract types are renewable on an annual basis.
We operate under a contract with the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Medical Services and the Arkansas Insurance Department to participate in the Medicaid expansion model that Arkansas has adopted (referred to as "Arkansas Works").
We are subject to various international, federal, state and local laws and rules regarding the use, security and disclosure of protected health information, personal information, and other categories of confidential or legally protected data that our businesses handle. Such laws and rules include, without limitation, HIPAA, the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Modernization Act of 1999 (Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU), and state privacy and security laws such as the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act and the California Online Privacy Protection Act. Privacy and security laws and regulations often change due to new or amended legislation, regulations or administrative interpretation. A variety of state and federal regulators enforce these laws, including but not limited to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Federal Trade Commission, state attorneys general and other state regulators.
HIPAA is designed to improve the portability and continuity of health insurance coverage, simplify the administration of health insurance through standard transactions and ensure the privacy and security of individual health information. Among the requirements of HIPAA are the Administrative Simplification provisions which include: standards for processing health insurance claims and related transactions (Transactions Standards); requirements for protecting the privacy and limiting the use and disclosure of medical records and other personal health information (Privacy Rule); and standards and specifications for safeguarding personal health information which is maintained, stored or transmitted in electronic format (Security Rule). The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act amended certain provisions of HIPAA and enhanced data security obligations for covered entities and their business associates. HITECH also mandated individual notifications in instances of a data breach, provided enhanced penalties for HIPAA violations, and granted enforcement
authority to states' Attorneys General in addition to the HHS Office for Civil Rights. The HIPAA Omnibus Rule further enhanced the changes under the HITECH Acts and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) which clarified that genetic information is protected under HIPAA and prohibits most health plans from using or disclosing genetic information for underwriting purposes. These regulations also establish significant criminal penalties and civil sanctions for non-compliance. The preemption provisions of HIPAA provide that the federal standards will not preempt state laws that are more stringent than the related federal requirements.
The Privacy and Security Rules and HITECH/Omnibus enhancements established requirements to protect the privacy of medical records and safeguard personal health information maintained and used by healthcare providers, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and their business associates.
The Security Rule requires healthcare providers, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and their business associates to implement administrative, physical and technical safeguards to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of health information electronically stored, maintained or transmitted. The HITECH Act and Omnibus Rule enhanced a federal requirement for notification when the security of protected health information is breached. In addition, there are state laws that have been adopted to provide for, among other things, private rights of action for breaches of data security and mandatory notification to persons whose identifiable information is obtained without authorization.
The requirements of the Transactions Standards apply to certain healthcare related transactions conducted using "electronic media." Since "electronic media" is defined broadly to include "transmissions that are physically moved from one location to another using portable data, magnetic tape, disk or compact disk media," many communications are considered to be electronically transmitted. Under HIPAA, health plans and providers are required to have the capacity to accept and send all covered transactions in a standardized electronic format. Penalties can be imposed for failure to comply with these requirements. The transaction standards were modified in October 2015 with the implementation of the ICD-10 coding system.
In addition, we process and maintain personal card data, particularly in connection with our Marketplace business. As a result, we must maintain compliance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard, which is a multifaceted security standard intended to optimize the security of credit, debit and cash card transactions and protect cardholders against misuse of their personal information.
Other Fraud, Waste and Abuse Laws
Investigating and prosecuting healthcare fraud, waste and abuse continues to be a top priority for state and federal law enforcement entities. The focus of these efforts has been directed at Medicare, Medicaid, Health Insurance Marketplace and commercial products. The fraud, waste and abuse laws include the federal False Claims Act, which prohibits the known filing of a false claim or the known use of false statements to obtain payment from the federal government. Many states have false claim act statutes that closely resemble the federal False Claims Act. Additional fraud, waste and abuse prohibitions include a wide range of operating activities, such as kickbacks or other inducements for referral of members or for the coverage of products (such as prescription drugs) by a plan, billing for unnecessary medical services by a provider, improper marketing and violation of patient privacy rights. The laws and regulations relating to fraud, waste and abuse and the requirements applicable to health plans, PDPs and providers participating in these programs are complex and change regularly. Compliance with these laws may require substantial resources. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our fraud, waste and abuse detection methods. While we have both prospective and retrospective processes to identify abusive patterns and fraudulent billing, we continue to increase our capabilities to proactively detect inappropriate billing prior to payment.
HUMAN CAPITAL RESOURCES
As the pace of change, complexity and uncertainty in the broader environment accelerates, we continue our strong investment in creating a purpose-driven culture and attracting, developing and retaining top talent. We seek out individuals with ambition for extraordinary impact and believe every employee is a leader and is critical to helping us transform the health of communities for those we serve. Our entrepreneurial spirited workforce is driven by a steadfast commitment to a diverse, inclusive and safe workplace, is enabled through robust talent development programs, is supported by competitive compensation, benefits and health and wellness programs, and is optimized by full alignment with our purpose, values, and strategy through meaningful connections between our employees and their communities.
As of December 31, 2020, we had approximately 71,300 employees. During fiscal 2020, the number of employees increased by approximately 14,700 or 26%, primarily due to the acquisition of WellCare in 2020. During fiscal 2020, our voluntary turnover
rate was less than 10%, which is in line with the insurance industry standard benchmark, which is comprised of certain of our key competitors (AON Salary Increase and Turnover Study – Second Edition (September 2020)).
Diversity and Inclusion
We believe that a diverse workforce and inclusive environment enables competitive advantage and fuels improved service, innovation and performance with all stakeholders. We thoughtfully engage diverse talent across Centene, preparing women and underrepresented employees for leadership roles, and hiring diverse candidates who have a passion for serving our members and ambition for extraordinary impact.
We have a wide range of programs focused on early identification and accelerated development of diverse talent, including our Employee Inclusion Groups (EIGs), which help us further enhance our inclusive workforce culture. These voluntary, employee led groups support the attraction, development and retention of talent at all levels. EIGs provide professional and leadership opportunities, contribute to community engagement initiatives and support business innovation and corporate best practices. Because of their significant value to us, we support EIGs through leadership involvement, work time and space, resources and Executive Mentors. Today, there are over 10,000 participants across all five EIGs providing professional and leadership development opportunities for women, military veterans, individuals with disabilities, LGBTQ+ and multicultural employees. Each EIG offers mentorship programs aligned with our leadership model and bring in unique lived experiences in an effort to ensure we are meeting employees at their level to deliver the best outcomes for their development. EIGs also partake in networking events, training programs, fireside chats and panels addressing current issues and other development opportunities for their members.
Our team of talent advisors are responsible for leading the end-to-end search process, and leveraging our resources, tools and technologies to help our hiring leaders carefully consider the capabilities required to continue to propel our organization forward. Our talent advisors receive Advisory and Certified Diversity Recruiter training which are designed to ensure we consistently attract diverse pools of exceptional talent.
In 2021, we released our inaugural 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Annual Report, which may be reviewed for more detailed information regarding our Human Capital programs and initiatives. Interested parties can find our 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Annual Report within the Investors section of our website, the URL of which is https://www.centene.com/who-we-are/corporate-facts-reports.html. Nothing on our website, including our Diversity and Inclusion Report or sections thereof, shall be deemed incorporated by reference into this Annual Report.
Health, Safety and Well-Being
We provide our employees and their families with access to a variety of health and wellness programs, including benefits that provide protection and security when events arise that may require time away from work or that impact our employees' financial well-being; that support their physical, mental and well-being health; and that offer choice where possible so they can customize their benefits to meet their needs and the needs of their families.
In 2020, when COVID-19 presented an extraordinary threat to the health of our workforce, we responded quickly, equipping nearly 90% of our workforce to work from home within days of the declaration of the pandemic. We also enacted several new benefits, such as: ten days of additional emergency paid sick leave, a technology stipend, in office premium pay, and waived prior authorizations and cost sharing for COVID-19 related employee care. We further supported our workforce by providing assistance to those with school-aged children through a partnership with an online tutoring organization to provide deeply discounted one-on-one tutoring and group and after-school enrichment classes at no cost. We also created an employee resource site to provide well-being resources. Additionally, we established a highly trained, dedicated contact tracing concierge team to support employee’s well-being and provide easy access to HR professionals to respond to COVID-related questions.
In addition to workforce benefits and enhanced employee concierge services, we also enacted several new facility modifications and protocols to help ensure the safety of our employees. For instance, while most of our cubicles are already 6x6 feet or larger in dimension, we invested more than $20 million to retrofit with acrylic screens our cubicles, reception and security desks, as well as workstations for additional protection from the spread of respiratory droplets. These protective screens were installed for over 60,000 cubicles across the country. In large campuses, thermal scanning cameras were installed to identify elevated temperatures of all employees and visitors. To promote a healthy distance among colleagues, structured walking paths were created in the hallways of our offices, directional signage has been prepared to guide employees through walking paths, and common areas have been restricted.
In a recent COVID-19 survey focused on employee sentiment and our response to COVID-19, 89% of employees responded favorably (agreed or strongly agreed) to our approach across five key areas: leadership, communications, consistency, care for people, and COVID-19 situation.
Compensation and Benefits
Our compensation and benefits programs are market competitive and designed to attract and retain qualified employees. Our overall compensation philosophy is to pay for performance by linking the achievement of both Company and individual goals to total compensation. In addition to base pay, these programs (which vary by country/region) include annual bonuses, stock awards, an employee stock purchase plan, and a 401(k) plan.
Our benefits cover various aspects of an employee’s life to help them live healthy. These include medical, dental and vision insurance, short- and long-term disability, supplemental accidental death and dismemberment and life insurance, wellness program, flexible spending accounts, parental leave and caregiver leave.
We also offer benefits to help employees achieve optimum work-life balance. These include vacation, paid personal and sick time, paid company holidays, paid community volunteer time, an employee assistance program, tuition reimbursement/educational assistance, adoption reimbursement, on-site fitness centers or discount at local fitness centers.
Through our robust talent infrastructure, we continue working to deepen and prepare our talent bench and workforce, which is necessary to support our growth strategy. We believe every employee is a leader and is critical to our success in transforming communities. Our leadership model sets expectations for what it means to lead at Centene and through Centene University, we build skills for how to lead. Centene University is our personalized learning platform and is accessible to all employees, providing both instructor-led and self-directed learning that enables employees to develop their professional and business skills from anywhere and at any time. Our business-led flagship leadership development program, APEX, is a multi-day, instructor-led program, designed to expand mindsets and build capabilities to help our workforce thrive in the future. In 2020, we strengthened our commitment to talent development and activated APEX digital learnings for our full workforce. The asynchronous sessions focused on building skills to thrive in the evolving world of work, including: customer-centricity, digital dexterity, perseverance and resilience, and end-to-end problem solving. We also repositioned our front line leader program to a virtual, instructor-led program, connecting with approximately 5,000 people leaders.
In addition to building new workforce skills, we utilize our ongoing enterprise talent reviews, succession planning, career development planning and comprehensive HR analytics to provide insights to senior leaders to inform actions and drive intentional talent results through our People Plans, the integrated human capital component of our annual operating plans.
Organizational Culture – Meaningful Connections between Employees and the Communities We Serve
We, our health plans, and our subsidiaries have long been leaders in transforming the health of our members and the communities where they live. We believe in local partnerships and value the innovative programs and services that they provide for underserved and at-risk populations. We attract a workforce that is purpose-driven and passionate about transforming communities and we recognize the importance of volunteering and supporting the communities in which we serve. We support our workforce by providing paid time off benefits for employees to participate in individual and work-related community volunteer programs. Additionally, to support our communities during the pandemic, we established an additional emergency volunteer benefit, which provides medical and behavioral health professional employees with paid volunteer time off for up to 3 months.
With a largely remote workforce in 2020, we took additional steps to ensure a highly connected workforce, including new monthly forums for people leaders, new weekly communications for all employees, and new employee programming to engage in transparent dialogue on social issues.
More than 92% of our employees responded to the 2020 Shaping Centene Employee Engagement Survey and 88% of employees reported strong engagement, which surpassed the 75th percentile of Fortune 100 benchmark companies. Based on their responses, employees were strongly aligned with our strategy, with 96% understanding our mission and 92% understanding our objectives.
Information about our Executive Officers
The following table sets forth information regarding our executive officers, including their ages, at February 19, 2021:
|Name|| ||Age|| ||Position|
|Michael F. Neidorff|| ||78 || ||Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer|
|Mark J. Brooks||51 ||Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer|
|Brandy L. Burkhalter||48 ||Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer|
|Jesse N. Hunter||45 ||Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer|
|Christopher R. Isaak||54 ||Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer|
|Christopher A. Koster||56 ||Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary|
|Brent D. Layton||53 ||Executive Vice President, Markets, Products, International, and Chief Business Development Officer|
|Sarah M. London||40 ||Senior Vice President, Technology, Innovation and Moderation|
|Jeffrey A. Schwaneke|| ||45 || ||Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer|
|David P. Thomas||55 ||Executive Vice President, Markets|
Michael F. Neidorff. Mr. Neidorff has served as our Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer since April 2019. From November 2017 to April 2019, he served as our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. From May 2004 to November 2017, he served as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. From May 1996 to May 2004, he served as President, Chief Executive Officer and as a member of our Board of Directors.
Mark J. Brooks. Mr. Brooks has served as our Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer since November 2017. From April 2016 to November 2017, he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. Prior to joining Centene, he served as the Chief Information Officer at Health Net from 2012 to 2016.
Brandy L. Burkhalter. Ms. Burkhalter has served as our Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer since June 2018. From December 2015 to June 2018, she served as Executive Vice President, Internal Audit & Risk Management.
Jesse N. Hunter. Mr. Hunter has served as our Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer since November 2017. From January 2016 to November 2017, he served as Executive Vice President, Products.
Christopher R. Isaak. Mr. Isaak has served as our Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer since April 2016. Prior to joining Centene, he served as Vice President, Corporate Controller at TTM Technologies from 2015 to 2016 and Vice President, Corporate Controller at Viasystems Group, Inc. from 2006 to 2015 and served as Chief Accounting Officer from 2010 to 2015.
Christopher A. Koster. Mr. Koster has served as Senior Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel since February 2020. From February 2017 to February 2020, he served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Services. Prior to joining Centene, Mr. Koster served as Missouri Attorney General for eight years.
Brent D. Layton. Mr. Layton has served as our Executive Vice President, Markets, Products, International, and Chief Business Development Officer since January 2021. From July 2016 to December 2020, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer. From September 2011 to June 2016, he served as Senior Vice President, Business Development.
Sarah M. London. Ms. London has served as our Senior Vice President, Technology and Modernization since September 2020. Prior to joining Centene, she served as both Senior Principal and Partner for Optum Ventures from May 2018 to March 2020 and Chief Product Officer of Optum from March 2016 to May 2018. From March 2014 to March 2016, she served as Vice President, Client Management and Operations for Humedica.
Jeffrey A. Schwaneke. Mr. Schwaneke has served as our Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer since March 2016 and was also our Treasurer from March 2016 to July 2020. From July 2008 to March 2016, he served as our Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller and served as our Chief Accounting Officer from September 2008 to March 2016.
David P. Thomas. Mr. Thomas has served as our Executive Vice President of Markets since October 2019. From January 2019 through October 2019, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Fidelis Care. From May 2018 to December 2018, he served as President of Fidelis Care. He also previously served as Chief Operating Officer for Fidelis Care from January 2012 through April 2018.
We are subject to the reporting and information requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (Exchange Act) and, as a result, we file periodic reports and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC. We make these filings available on our website free of charge, the URL of which is https://www.centene.com, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. The SEC maintains a website (https://www.sec.gov) that contains our annual, quarterly and current reports and other information we file electronically with the SEC. Information on our website does not constitute part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
ITEM 1A. Risk Factors.
You should carefully consider the risks described below before making an investment decision. The trading price of our common stock could decline due to any of these risks, in which case you could lose all or part of your investment. You should also refer to the other information in this filing, including our consolidated financial statements and related notes. The risks and uncertainties described below are those that we currently believe may materially affect our Company. Additional risks and uncertainties that we are unaware of or that we currently deem immaterial also may become important factors that affect our Company. Unless the context otherwise requires, the terms the “Company,” “we,” “us,” “our” or similar terms and “Centene” (i) prior to the closing of the Magellan Acquisition, refer to Centene Corporation, together with its consolidated subsidiaries, without giving effect to the Magellan Acquisition, and (ii) upon and after the closing of the Magellan Acquisition, refer to us, after giving effect to the Magellan Acquisition.
Risks Relating to Our Business
Our business could be adversely affected by the effects of widespread public health pandemics, such as the spread of COVID-19.
Public health pandemics or widespread outbreaks of contagious diseases could adversely impact our business. In December 2019, a novel strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) emerged, which has now spread globally, including throughout the United States. The extent to which COVID-19 continues to impact our business will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence. Factors that may determine the severity of the impact include the duration and scale of the outbreak, new information which may emerge concerning the severity of COVID-19, (including new strains, which may be more contagious, more severe or less responsive to treatment or vaccines), the costs of prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and the potential that we will not receive state and federal government reimbursement of additional expenses incurred by our members who contract or require testing for COVID-19 or who experience other health impacts as a result of the pandemic, employee mobility, productivity and utilization of leave and other benefits, financial and other impacts on the healthcare provider community, disruptions or delays in the supply chain for testing and treatment supplies, protective equipment and other products and services, and the actions to contain COVID-19 or address its impact (including federal, state and local laws, regulations and emergency orders, including directives to remain at home, physically distance or forced business closures as well as the timing and scope of vaccine distribution), among others. Additionally, the spread of COVID-19 has led to disruption and volatility in the global capital markets, which could adversely impact our access to capital, and a decline in interest rates which could reduce our investment income. Finally, the impact of the above items on our state and federal partners could result in program changes or delays or reduced capitation payments to us. We cannot at this time predict the ultimate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it could adversely affect our business, including our financial position, results of operations and/or cash flows.
Our Medicare programs are subject to a variety of unique risks that could adversely impact our financial results.
If we fail to design and maintain programs that are attractive to Medicare participants; if our Medicare operations are subject to negative outcomes from program audits, sanctions, penalties or other actions; if we do not submit adequate bids in our existing markets or any expansion markets; if our existing contracts are modified or terminated; or if we fail to maintain or improve our quality Star ratings, our current Medicare business and our ability to expand our Medicare operations could be materially and adversely affected, negatively impacting our financial performance. For example, in October 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published updated Medicare Star quality ratings for the 2021 rating year. Approximately 30% of our Medicare members are in a 4 star or above plan for the 2022 bonus year, compared to 46% for the 2021 bonus year and 86% for the 2020 bonus year. Our quality bonus and rebates may be negatively impacted in 2021 and 2022 and the attractiveness of our Medicare Advantage plans may be reduced.
There are also specific additional risks under Title XVIII, Part D of the Social Security Act associated with our provision of Medicare Part D prescription drug benefits as part of our Medicare Advantage plan offerings. These risks include potential uncollectibility of receivables, inadequacy of pricing assumptions, inability to receive and process information and increased pharmaceutical costs, as well as the underlying seasonality of this business, and extended settlement periods for claims submissions. Our failure to comply with Part D program requirements can result in financial and/or operational sanctions on our Part D products, as well as on our Medicare Advantage products that offer no prescription drug coverage.
Although we do not anticipate that a single-payer national health insurance system will be enacted by the current Congress, members of Congress have proposed several legislative initiatives over various sessions of Congress that would establish some
form of a single public or quasi-public agency that organizes healthcare financing, but under which healthcare delivery would remain private. Additionally, the potential impact of the change of administration on healthcare reform efforts is unknown. We are unable to predict the nature and success of these or other initiatives or political changes, which could have an adverse effect on our business.
Failure to accurately estimate and price our medical expenses or effectively manage our medical costs or related administrative costs could negatively affect our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.
Our profitability depends to a significant degree on our ability to estimate and effectively manage expenses related to health benefits through, among other things, our ability to contract favorably with hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers. For example, our Medicaid revenue is often based on bids submitted before the start of the initial contract year. If our actual medical expenses exceed our estimates, our Health Benefits Ratio (HBR), or our expenses related to medical services as a percentage of premium revenues, would increase and our profits would decline. Because of the narrow margins of our health plan business, relatively small changes in our HBR can create significant changes in our financial results. Changes in healthcare regulations and practices, the level of utilization of healthcare services, hospital and pharmaceutical costs, disasters, the potential effects of climate change, major epidemics, pandemics or newly emergent diseases (such as COVID-19), new medical technologies, new pharmaceutical compounds, increases in provider fraud and other external factors, including general economic conditions such as inflation and unemployment levels, are generally beyond our control and could reduce our ability to accurately predict and effectively control the costs of providing health benefits. Also, member behavior could continue to be influenced by the uncertainty surrounding the ACA, including ongoing legal challenges to the ACA including the case originally captioned Texas v. United States, which is currently pending before the Supreme Court.
Our medical expenses include claims reported but not paid, estimates for claims incurred but not reported, and estimates for the costs necessary to process unpaid claims at the end of each period. Our development of the medical claims liability estimate is a continuous process which we monitor and refine on a monthly basis as claims receipts and payment information as well as inpatient acuity information becomes available. As more complete information becomes available, we adjust the amount of the estimate, and include the changes in estimates in medical expenses in the period in which the changes are identified. Given the uncertainties inherent in such estimates, there can be no assurance that our medical claims liability estimate will be adequate, and any adjustments to the estimate may unfavorably impact our results of operations and may be material.
Additionally, when we commence operations in a new state or region or launch a new product, we have limited information with which to estimate our medical claims liability. For a period of time after the inception of the new business, we base our estimates on government-provided historical actuarial data and limited actual incurred and received claims and inpatient acuity information. The addition of new categories of eligible individuals, as well as evolving Health Insurance Marketplace plans, may pose difficulty in estimating our medical claims liability.
From time to time in the past, our actual results have varied from our estimates, particularly in times of significant changes in the number of our members. If it is determined that our estimates are significantly different than actual results, our results of operations and financial position could be adversely affected. In addition, if there is a significant delay in our receipt of premiums, our business operations, cash flows, or earnings could be negatively impacted.
Risk-adjustment payment systems make our revenue and results of operations more difficult to estimate and could result in retroactive adjustments that have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Most of our government customers employ risk-adjustment models to determine the premium amount they pay for each member. This model pays more for members with predictably higher costs according to the health status of each beneficiary enrolled. Premium payments are generally established at fixed intervals according to the contract terms and then adjusted on a retroactive basis. We reassess the estimates of the risk adjustment settlements each reporting period and any resulting adjustments are made to premium revenue. In addition, revisions by our government customers to the risk-adjustment models have reduced, and may continue to reduce, our premium revenue.
As a result of the variability of certain factors that determine estimates for risk-adjusted premiums, including plan risk scores, the actual amount of retroactive payments could be materially more or less than our estimates. Consequently, our estimate of our plans’ risk scores for any period, and any resulting change in our accrual of premium revenues related thereto, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. The data provided to our government customers to determine the risk score are subject to audit by them even after the annual settlements occur. These audits may result in the refund of premiums to the government customer previously received by us, which could be significant and would reduce our premium revenue in the year that repayment is required.
Government customers have performed and continue to perform audits of selected plans to validate the provider coding practices under the risk adjustment model used to calculate the premium paid for each member. In 2018, CMS proposed the removal of the fee for service adjuster from the risk adjustment data validation audit methodology. If adopted, this proposal, or any similar CMS rule making initiative, could increase our audit error scores. We anticipate that CMS will continue to conduct audits of our Medicare contracts and contract years on an on-going basis. An audit may result in the refund of premiums to CMS. It is likely that a payment adjustment could occur as a result of these audits; and any such adjustment could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Any failure to adequately price products offered or any reduction in products offered in the Health Insurance Marketplaces may have a negative impact on our results of operations, financial position and cash flow.
Due to among other things, the elimination of the individual mandate penalty in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), we may be adversely selected by individuals who have higher acuity levels than those individuals who selected us in the past and healthy individuals may decide to opt out of the pool altogether. In addition, the risk adjustment provisions of the ACA established to apportion risk amongst insurers may not be effective in appropriately mitigating the financial risks related to the Marketplace product, are subject to a high degree of estimation and variability, and are affected by our members' acuity relative to the membership acuity of other insurers. Further, changes in the competitive marketplace over time may exacerbate the uncertainty in these relatively new markets. For example, competitors seeking to gain a foothold in the changing market may introduce pricing that we may not be able to match, which may adversely affect our ability to compete effectively. Competitors may also choose to exit the market altogether or otherwise suffer financial difficulty, which could adversely impact the pool of potential insured, or require us to increase premium rates. Any significant variation from our expectations regarding acuity, enrollment levels, adverse selection, or other assumptions utilized in setting adequate premium rates could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.
We derive a portion of our cash flow and gross margin from our PDP operations, for which we submit annual bids for participation. The results of our bids could materially affect our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
A significant portion of our PDP membership is obtained from the auto-assignment of beneficiaries in CMS-designated regions where our PDP premium bids are below benchmarks of other plans’ bids. In general, our premium bids are based on assumptions regarding PDP membership, utilization, drug costs, drug rebates and other factors for each region. Our 2021 PDP bids resulted in 33 of the 34 CMS regions in which we were below the benchmarks, and within the de minimis range in the remaining region, compared with our 2020 PDP bids in which we were below the benchmarks in 32 regions, and within the de minimis range in the remaining two regions. For those regions in which we are within the de minimis range, we will not be eligible to have new members auto-assigned to us, but we will not lose our existing auto-assigned membership.
If our future Part D premium bids are not below the CMS benchmarks, we risk losing PDP members who were previously assigned to us and we may not have additional PDP members auto-assigned to us, which could materially reduce our revenue and profits.
Our encounter data may be inaccurate or incomplete, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, cash flows and ability to bid for, and continue to participate in, certain programs.
Our contracts require the submission of complete and correct encounter data. The accurate and timely reporting of encounter data is increasingly important to the success of our programs because more states are using encounter data to determine compliance with performance standards and to set premium rates. We have expended and may continue to expend additional effort and incur significant additional costs to collect or correct inaccurate or incomplete encounter data and have been, and continue to be, exposed to operating sanctions and financial fines and penalties for noncompliance. In some instances, our government clients have established retroactive requirements for the encounter data we must submit. There also may be periods of time in which we are unable to meet existing requirements. In either case, it may be prohibitively expensive or impossible for us to collect or reconstruct this historical data.
We may experience challenges in obtaining complete and accurate encounter data, due to difficulties with providers and third-party vendors submitting claims in a timely fashion in the proper format, and with state agencies in coordinating such submissions. As states increase their reliance on encounter data, these difficulties could adversely affect the premium rates we receive and how membership is assigned to us and subject us to financial penalties, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, cash flows and our ability to bid for, and continue to participate in, certain programs.
If any of our government contracts are terminated or are not renewed on favorable terms or at all, or if we receive an adverse finding or review resulting from an audit or investigation, our business may be adversely affected.
A substantial portion of our business relates to the provision of managed care programs and selected services to individuals receiving benefits under governmental assistance or entitlement programs. We provide these and other healthcare services under contracts with government entities in the areas in which we operate. Our government contracts are generally intended to run for a fixed number of years and may be extended for an additional specified number of years if the contracting entity or its agent elects to do so. When our contracts with government entities expire, they may be opened for bidding by competing healthcare providers, and there is no guarantee that our contracts will be renewed or extended. Competitors may buy their way into the market by submitting bids with lower pricing. Even if our responsive bids are successful, the bids may be based upon assumptions or other factors which could result in the contracts being less profitable than we had anticipated. Further, our government contracts contain certain provisions regarding eligibility, enrollment and dis-enrollment processes for covered services, eligible providers, periodic financial and informational reporting, quality assurance, timeliness of claims payment and agreement to maintain a Medicare plan in the state and financial standards, among other things, and are subject to cancellation if we fail to perform in accordance with the standards set by regulatory agencies.
We are also subject to various reviews, audits and investigations to verify our compliance with the terms of our contracts with various governmental agencies, as well as compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Any adverse review, audit or investigation could result in, among other things: cancellation of our contracts; refunding of amounts we have been paid pursuant to our contracts; imposition of fines, penalties and other sanctions on us; loss of our right to participate in various programs; increased difficulty in selling our products and services; loss of one or more of our licenses; lowered quality Star ratings; or required changes to the way we do business. In addition, under government procurement regulations and practices, a negative determination resulting from a government audit of our business practices could result in a contractor being fined, debarred and/or suspended from being able to bid on, or be awarded, new government contracts for a period of time.
If any of our government contracts are terminated, not renewed, renewed on less favorable terms, or not renewed on a timely basis, or if we receive an adverse finding or review resulting from an audit or investigation, our business and reputation may be adversely impacted, our goodwill could be impaired and our financial position, results of operations or cash flows may be materially affected.
We contract with independent third-party vendors and service providers who provide services to us and our subsidiaries or to whom we delegate selected functions. Violations of, or noncompliance with, laws and regulations governing our business by such third parties, or governing our dealings with such parties, could, among other things, subject us to additional audits, reviews and investigations and other adverse effects.
Ineffectiveness of state-operated systems and subcontractors could adversely affect our business.
A number of our health plans rely on other state-operated systems or subcontractors to qualify, solicit, educate and assign eligible members into managed care plans. The effectiveness of these state operations and subcontractors can have a material effect on a health plan's enrollment in a particular month or over an extended period. When a state implements either new programs to determine eligibility or new processes to assign or enroll eligible members into health plans, or when it chooses new subcontractors, there is an increased potential for an unanticipated impact on the overall number of members assigned to managed care plans.
Execution of our growth strategy may increase costs or liabilities, or create disruptions in our business.
Our growth strategy includes, without limitation, the acquisition and expansion of health plans participating in government sponsored healthcare programs and specialty services businesses, contract rights and related assets of other health plans both in our existing service areas and in new markets and start-up operations in new markets or new products in existing markets. We continue to pursue opportunistic acquisitions to expand into new geographies and complementary business lines as well as to augment existing operations, and we may be in discussions with respect to one or multiple targets at any given time. Although we review the records of companies or businesses we plan to acquire, it is possible that we could assume unanticipated liabilities or adverse operating conditions, or an acquisition may not perform as well as expected or may not achieve timely profitability. We also face the risk that we will not be able to effectively integrate acquisitions into our existing operations effectively without substantial expense, delay or other operational or financial problems and we may need to divert more management resources to integration than we planned.
In connection with start-up operations and system migrations, we may incur significant expenses prior to commencement of operations and the receipt of revenue. For example, in order to obtain a certificate of authority in most jurisdictions, we must first establish a provider network, have systems in place and demonstrate our ability to administer a state contract and process claims. We may experience delays in operational start dates, including those related to stay-at-home directives and other impacts of COVID-19. As a result of these factors, start-up operations may decrease our profitability. The timing of operating our new East Coast headquarters in Charlotte, and the expected benefits of its completion, may also be negatively impacted as a result of these factors. In addition, we are planning to further expand our business internationally and we will be subject to additional risks, including, but not limited to, political risk, an unfamiliar regulatory regime, currency exchange risk and exchange controls, cultural and language differences, foreign tax issues, and different labor laws and practices.
If we are unable to effectively execute our growth strategy, including as a result of the continued impact of COVID-19, our future growth will suffer and our results of operations could be harmed.
If competing managed care programs are unwilling to purchase specialty services from us, we may not be able to successfully implement our strategy of diversifying our business lines.
We are seeking to diversify our business lines into areas that complement our government sponsored health plan business in order to grow our revenue stream and diversify our business. In order to diversify our business, we must succeed in selling the services of our specialty subsidiaries not only to our managed care plans, but to programs operated by third parties. Some of these third-party programs may compete with us in some markets, and they therefore may be unwilling to purchase specialty services from us. In any event, the offering of these services will require marketing activities that differ significantly from the manner in which we seek to increase revenues from our government sponsored programs. Our ineffectiveness in marketing specialty services to third parties may impair our ability to execute our business strategy.
If state regulators do not approve payments of dividends and distributions by our subsidiaries to us, we may not have sufficient funds to implement our business strategy.
We principally operate through our health plan subsidiaries. As part of normal operations, we may make requests for dividends and distributions from our subsidiaries to fund our operations. In addition to state corporate law limitations, these subsidiaries are subject to more stringent state insurance and HMO laws and regulations that limit the amount of dividends and distributions that can be paid to us without prior approval of, or notification to, state regulators. If these regulators were to deny or delay our subsidiaries' requests to pay dividends, the funds available to us would be limited, which could harm our ability to implement our business strategy.
We derive a significant portion of our premium revenues from operations in a limited number of states, and our results of operations, financial position or cash flows could be materially affected by a decrease in premium revenues or profitability in any one of those states.
Operations in a limited number of states have accounted for a significant portion of our premium revenues to date. If we were unable to continue to operate in any of those states or if our current operations in any portion of one of those states were significantly curtailed, our revenues could decrease materially. Our reliance on operations in a limited number of states could cause our revenues and profitability to change suddenly and unexpectedly depending on legislative or other governmental or regulatory actions and decisions, economic conditions and similar factors in those states. For example, states we currently serve may open the bidding for their Medicaid program to other health insurers through a request for proposal process. Our inability to continue to operate in any of the states in which we operate could harm our business.
Competition may limit our ability to increase penetration of the markets that we serve.
We compete for members principally on the basis of size and quality of provider networks, benefits provided and quality of service. We compete with numerous types of competitors, including other health plans and traditional state Medicaid programs that reimburse providers as care is provided, as well as technology companies, new joint ventures, financial services firms, consulting firms and other non-traditional competitors. In addition, the administration of the ACA has the potential to shift the competitive landscape in our segment.
Some of the health plans with which we compete have greater financial and other resources and offer a broader scope of products than we do. In addition, significant merger and acquisition activity has occurred in the managed care industry, as well as complementary industries, such as the hospital, physician, pharmaceutical, medical device and health information systems businesses. To the extent that competition intensifies in any market that we serve, as a result of industry consolidation or otherwise, our ability to retain or increase members and providers, or maintain or increase our revenue growth, pricing
flexibility and control over medical cost trends may be adversely affected.
If we are unable to maintain relationships with our provider networks, our profitability may be harmed.
Our profitability depends, in large part, upon our ability to contract at competitive prices with hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers. Our provider arrangements with our primary care physicians, specialists and hospitals generally may be canceled by either party without cause upon 90 to 120 days prior written notice. We cannot provide any assurance that we will be able to continue to renew our existing contracts or enter into new contracts on a timely basis or under favorable terms enabling us to service our members profitably. Healthcare providers with whom we contract may not properly manage the costs of, and access to services, be able to provide effective telehealth services, maintain financial solvency, including due to the impact of COVID-19, or avoid disputes with other providers. Any of these events could have a material adverse effect on the provision of services to our members and our operations.
In any particular market, physicians and other healthcare providers could refuse to contract, demand higher payments, or take other actions that could result in higher medical costs or difficulty in meeting regulatory or accreditation requirements, among other things. In some markets, certain healthcare providers, particularly hospitals, physician/hospital organizations or multi-specialty physician groups, may have significant market positions or near monopolies that could result in diminished bargaining power on our part. In addition, accountable care organizations, practice management companies, which aggregate physician practices for administrative efficiency and marketing leverage, and other organizational structures that physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers choose may change the way in which these providers interact with us and may change the competitive landscape. Such organizations or groups of healthcare providers may compete directly with us, which could adversely affect our operations, and our results of operations, financial position and cash flows by impacting our relationships with these providers or affecting the way that we price our products and estimate our costs, which might require us to incur costs to change our operations. Provider networks may consolidate, resulting in a reduction in the competitive environment. In addition, if these providers refuse to contract with us, use their market position to negotiate contracts unfavorable to us or place us at a competitive disadvantage, our ability to market products or to be profitable in those areas could be materially and adversely affected.
From time to time, healthcare providers assert or threaten to assert claims seeking to terminate non-cancelable agreements due to alleged actions or inactions by us. If we are unable to retain our current provider contract terms or enter into new provider contracts timely or on favorable terms, our profitability may be harmed. In addition, from time to time, we may be subject to class action or other lawsuits by healthcare providers with respect to claim payment procedures or similar matters. For example, our wholly owned subsidiary, Health Net Life Insurance Company (HNL), is and may continue to be subject to such disputes with respect to HNL's payment levels in connection with the processing of out-of-network provider reimbursement claims for the provision of certain substance abuse related services. HNL expects to vigorously defend its claims payment practices. Nevertheless, in the event HNL receives an adverse finding in any related legal proceeding or from a regulator, or is otherwise required to reimburse providers for these claims at rates that are higher than expected or for claims HNL otherwise believes are unallowable, our financial condition and results of operations may be materially adversely affected. In addition, regardless of whether any such lawsuits brought against us are successful or have merit, they will still be time-consuming and costly and could distract our management's attention. As a result, under such circumstances we may incur significant expenses and may be unable to operate our business effectively.
If we are unable to integrate and manage our information systems effectively, our operations could be disrupted.
Our operations depend significantly on effective information systems. The information gathered and processed by our information systems assists us in, among other things, monitoring utilization and other cost factors, processing provider claims, and providing data to our regulators. Our healthcare providers also depend upon our information systems for membership verifications, claims status and other information. Our information systems and applications require continual maintenance, upgrading and enhancement to meet our operational needs and regulatory requirements. We regularly upgrade and expand our information systems' capabilities. If we experience difficulties with the transition to or from information systems or do not appropriately integrate, maintain, enhance or expand our information systems, we could suffer, among other things, operational disruptions, loss of existing members and difficulty in attracting new members, regulatory problems and increases in administrative expenses. In addition, our ability to integrate and manage our information systems may be impaired as the result of events outside our control, including acts of nature, such as earthquakes or fires, or acts of terrorists, which may include cyber-attacks by terrorists or other governmental or non-governmental actors. In addition, we may from time to time obtain significant portions of our systems-related or other services or facilities from independent third parties, which may make our operations vulnerable if such third parties fail to perform adequately.
An impairment charge with respect to our recorded goodwill and intangible assets could have a material impact on our results of operations.
We periodically evaluate our goodwill and other intangible assets to determine whether all or a portion of their carrying values may be impaired, in which case a charge to earnings may be necessary. Changes in business strategy, government regulations or economic or market conditions have resulted and may result in impairments of our goodwill and other intangible assets at any time in the future. Our judgments regarding the existence of impairment indicators are based on, among other things, legal factors, market conditions, and operational performance. For example, the non-renewal of our health plan contracts with the state in which they operate may be an indicator of impairment. If an event or events occur that would cause us to revise our estimates and assumptions used in analyzing the value of our goodwill and other intangible assets, such revision could result in a non-cash impairment charge that could have a material impact on our results of operations in the period in which the impairment occurs.
A failure in or breach of our operational or security systems or infrastructure, or those of third parties with which we do business, including as a result of cyber-attacks, could have an adverse effect on our business.
Information security risks have significantly increased in recent years in part because of the proliferation of new technologies, the use of the internet and telecommunications technologies to conduct our operations, and the increased sophistication and activities of organized crime, hackers, terrorists and other external parties, including foreign state agents. Our operations rely on the secure processing, transmission and storage of confidential, proprietary and other information in our computer systems and networks.
Security breaches may arise from external or internal threats. External breaches include hacking personal information for financial gain, attempting to cause harm or interruption to our operations, or intending to obtain competitive information. We experience attempted external hacking or malicious attacks on a regular basis. We maintain a rigorous system of prevention and detection controls through our security programs; however, our prevention and detection controls may not prevent or identify all such attacks on a timely basis, or at all. Internal breaches may result from inappropriate security access to confidential information by rogue employees, consultants or third party service providers. Any security breach involving the misappropriation, loss or other unauthorized disclosure or use of confidential member information, financial data, competitively sensitive information, or other proprietary data, whether by us or a third party, could have a material adverse effect on our business reputation, financial condition, cash flows, or results of operations.
Risks Relating to Regulatory and Legal Matters
Reductions in funding, changes to eligibility requirements for government sponsored healthcare programs in which we participate and any inability on our part to effectively adapt to changes to these programs could substantially affect our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.
The majority of our revenues come from government subsidized healthcare programs including Medicaid, Medicare, TRICARE, CHIP, LTSS, ABD, Foster Care and Health Insurance Marketplace premiums. Under most programs, the base premium rate paid for each program differs, depending on a combination of factors such as defined upper payment limits, a member's health status, age, gender, county or region and benefit mix. Since Medicaid was created in 1965, the federal government and the states have shared the costs for this program, with the federal share currently averaging approximately 60%. We are therefore exposed to risks associated with federal and state government contracting or participating in programs involving a government payor, including but not limited to the general ability of the federal and/or state governments to terminate or modify contracts with them, in whole or in part, without prior notice, for convenience or for default based on performance; potential regulatory or legislative action that may materially modify amounts owed; our dependence upon Congressional or legislative appropriation and allotment of funds and the impact that delays in government payments could have on our operating cash flow and liquidity; and other regulatory, legislative or judicial actions that may have an impact on the operations of government subsidized healthcare programs including ongoing litigation involving the ACA. For example, future levels of funding and premium rates may be affected by continuing government efforts to contain healthcare costs and may further be affected by state and federal budgetary constraints. Governments periodically consider reducing or reallocating the amount of money they spend for Medicaid, Medicare, TRICARE, CHIP, LTSS, ABD and Foster Care. Furthermore, Medicare remains subject to the automatic spending reductions imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 ("sequestration"), subject to a 2% cap, which was extended by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 through 2029. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020 temporarily suspended the Medicare sequestration for the period of May 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, while also extending the mandatory sequestration policy by an additional one year, through 2030. The Bipartisan-Bicameral Omnibus COVID Relief Deal passed in December 2020 further extended the suspension of the Medicare sequestration until March 31, 2021.
In addition, reductions in defense spending could have an adverse impact on certain government programs in which we currently participate by, among other things, terminating or materially changing such programs, or by decreasing or delaying payments made under such programs. Adverse economic conditions may put pressures on state budgets as tax and other state revenues decrease while the population that is eligible to participate in these programs remains steady or increases, creating more need for funding. We anticipate this will require government agencies to find funding alternatives, which may result in reductions in funding for programs, contraction of covered benefits, and limited or no premium rate increases or premium rate decreases. A reduction (or less than expected increase), a protracted delay, or a change in allocation methodology in government funding for these programs, as well as termination of one or more contracts for the convenience of the government, may materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial position and cash flows. In addition, if another federal government shutdown were to occur for a prolonged period of time, federal government payment obligations, including its obligations under Medicaid, Medicare, TRICARE, CHIP, LTSS, ABD, Foster Care and the Health Insurance Marketplaces, may be delayed. Similarly, if state government shutdowns were to occur, state payment obligations may be delayed. If the federal or state governments fail to make payments under these programs on a timely basis, our business could suffer, and our financial position, results of operations or cash flows may be materially affected.
Payments from government payors may be delayed in the future, which, if extended for any significant period of time, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial position, cash flows or liquidity. In addition, delays in obtaining, or failure to obtain or maintain, governmental approvals, or moratoria imposed by regulatory authorities, could adversely affect our revenues or membership, increase costs or adversely affect our ability to bring new products to market as forecasted. Other changes to our government programs could affect our willingness or ability to participate in any of these programs or otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Finally, changes in these programs could reduce the number of persons enrolled in or eligible for these programs or increase our administrative or healthcare costs under these programs. For example, maintaining current eligibility levels could cause states to reduce reimbursement or reduce benefits in order for states to afford to maintain eligibility levels. If any state in which we operate were to decrease premiums paid to us or pay us less than the amount necessary to keep pace with our cost trends, it could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.
The implementation of the ACA, as well as potential repeal of, changes to, or judicial challenges to the ACA, could materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.
The enactment of the ACA in March 2010 transformed the U.S. healthcare delivery system through a series of complex initiatives; however, the implementation of the ACA continues to face administrative, judicial and legislative challenges to repeal or change certain of its significant provisions. Changes to, or repeal of, portions or the entirety of the ACA, as well as judicial interpretations in response to constitutional and other legal challenges, as well as the uncertainty generated by such actual or potential challenges, could materially and adversely affect our business and financial position, results of operations or cash flows. Even if the ACA is not amended or repealed under the current administration, a future administration or members of Congress could continue to propose changes impacting implementation of the ACA, which could materially and adversely affect our financial position or operations.
Among the most significant of the ACA's provisions was the establishment of the Health Insurance Marketplace for individuals and small employers to purchase health insurance coverage that included a minimum level of benefits and restrictions on coverage limitations and premium rates, as well as the expansion of Medicaid coverage to all individuals under age 65 with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level beginning January 1, 2014, subject to each state's election. The HHS additionally indicated that it would consider a limited number of premium assistance demonstration proposals from states that want to privatize Medicaid expansion. Arkansas was the first state to obtain federal approval to use Medicaid funding to purchase private insurance for low-income residents, and we began operations under the program beginning on January 1, 2014. Several states have obtained Section 1115 waivers to implement the ACA's Medicaid expansion in ways that extend beyond the flexibility provided by the federal law, with additional states pursuing Section 1115 waivers regarding eligibility criteria, benefits, and cost-sharing, and provider payments across their Medicaid programs. Litigation challenging Section 1115 waiver activity for both new and previously approved waivers is expected to continue both through administrative actions and the courts.
There have been significant administrative efforts to repeal, or limit implementation of, certain provisions of the ACA through changes in regulations. Such initiatives include repeal of the individual mandate effective in 2019, as well as easing the regulatory restrictions placed on short-term health plans and association health plans (AHPs), which plans often provide fewer benefits than the traditional ACA insurance benefits.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a final rule on June 19, 2018 which expanded flexibility regarding the regulation and formation of AHPs provided by small employer groups and associations. On June 13, 2019, the HHS, the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Treasury issued a final rule allowing employers of all sizes that do not offer a group coverage plan to fund a new kind of health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), known as an individual coverage HRA (ICHRA). Beginning January 1, 2020, employees became able to use employer-funded ICHRAs to buy individual-market insurance, including insurance purchased on the public exchanges formed under the ACA.
In addition to administrative efforts to expand the flexibility of other insurance plan options that are not required to meet ACA requirements, there have also been efforts to address the ACA's non-deductible tax imposed on health insurers based on prior year net premiums written (the "health insurer fee" or "HIF"). The ACA imposed HIF was $8.0 billion in 2014, and $11.3 billion in each of 2015 and 2016, with increasing annual amounts thereafter. The HIF payable in 2017 was suspended by the Consolidated Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2016; however, a $14.3 billion payment occurred in 2018. Collection of the HIF for 2019 was also suspended, but resumed in 2020 with a $15.5 billion payment. Congress passed a spending bill in December 2019, which would repeal the health insurance tax indefinitely, effective in 2021. If we are not reimbursed by the states for the cost of the HIF (including the associated tax impact), or if we are unable to otherwise adjust our business model to address the current assessment, our results of operations, financial position and cash flows may be materially adversely affected.
The constitutionality of the ACA itself continues to face judicial challenge. In December 2018, a partial summary judgment ruling in Texas v. United States of America held that the ACA's individual mandate requirement was essential to the ACA, and without it, the remainder of the ACA was invalid (i.e., that it was not "severable" from the ACA). That decision was appealed to the Fifth Circuit, which ruled in December 2019 that the individual mandate was unconstitutional after Congress set the individual mandate penalty to $0 and remanded the case to the district court for additional analysis on the question of severability. In March 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case to review whether the individual mandate is constitutional and, if the individual mandate is unconstitutional, the severability issue. In June 2020, Noel J. Francisco, the then Solicitor General of the United States, together with multiple U.S. Department of Justice colleagues, submitted a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the argument that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and that the remaining provisions of the ACA are not severable. The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in November 2020 and a ruling is anticipated in 2021. The ACA remains in effect until judicial review of the decision is concluded. The ultimate content, timing or effect of any potential future legislation or the outcome of the lawsuit cannot be predicted and may be delayed as a result of court closures and reduced court dockets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
These changes and other potential changes involving the functioning of the Health Insurance Marketplace as a result of new legislation, regulation, executive action or litigation could impact our business and results of operations.
Our business activities are highly regulated and new laws or regulations or changes in existing laws or regulations or their enforcement or application could force us to change how we operate and could harm our business.
Our business is extensively regulated by the states in which we operate and by the federal government. In addition, the managed care industry has received negative publicity that has led to increased legislation, regulation, review of industry practices and private litigation in the commercial sector. Such negative publicity may adversely affect our stock price and damage our reputation in various markets.
In each of the jurisdictions in which we operate, we are regulated by the relevant insurance, health and/or human services or government departments that oversee the activities of managed care organizations providing or arranging to provide services to Medicaid, Medicare, Health Insurance Marketplace enrollees or other beneficiaries. For example, our health plan subsidiaries, as well as our applicable specialty companies, must comply with minimum statutory capital and other financial solvency requirements, such as deposit and surplus requirements.
The frequent enactment of, changes to, or interpretations of laws and regulations could, among other things: force us to restructure our relationships with providers within our network; require us to implement additional or different programs and systems; restrict revenue and enrollment growth; increase our healthcare and administrative costs; impose additional capital and surplus requirements; and increase or change our liability to members in the event of malpractice by our contracted providers. In addition, changes in political party or administrations at the state or federal level in the United States or internationally may change the attitude towards healthcare programs and result in changes to the existing legislative or regulatory environment.
Additionally, the taxes and fees paid to federal, state and local governments may increase due to several factors, including: enactment of, changes to, or interpretations of tax laws and regulations, audits by governmental authorities, geographic expansions into higher taxing jurisdictions and the effect of expansions into international markets.
Our contracts with states may require us to maintain a minimum HBR or may require us to share profits in excess of certain levels. In certain circumstances, our plans may be required to return premiums back to the state in the event profits exceed established levels or HBR does not meet the minimum requirement. Factors that may impact the amount of premium returned to the state include transparent pharmacy pricing and rebate initiatives. Other states may require us to meet certain performance and quality metrics in order to maintain our contract or receive additional or full contractual revenue.
The governmental healthcare programs in which we participate are subject to the satisfaction of certain regulations and performance standards. Regulators require numerous steps for continued implementation of the ACA, including the promulgation of a substantial number of potentially more onerous federal regulations. If we fail to effectively implement or appropriately adjust our operational and strategic initiatives with respect to the implementation of healthcare reform, or do not do so as effectively as our competitors, our results of operations may be materially adversely affected. For example, under the ACA, Congress authorized CMS and the states to implement managed care demonstration programs to serve dually eligible beneficiaries to improve the coordination of their care. Participation in these demonstration programs is subject to CMS approval and the satisfaction of conditions to participation, including meeting certain performance requirements. Our inability to improve or maintain adequate quality scores and Star ratings to meet government performance requirements or to match the performance of our competitors could result in limitations to our participation in or exclusion from these or other government programs. Specifically, several of our Medicaid contracts require us to maintain a Medicare health plan.
In April 2016, CMS issued final regulations that revised existing Medicaid managed care rules by establishing a minimum MLR standard for Medicaid of 85% and strengthening provisions related to network adequacy and access to care, enrollment and disenrollment protections, beneficiary support information, continued service during beneficiary appeals, and delivery system and payment reform initiatives, among others. CMS subsequently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on November 8, 2018, advancing CMS' efforts to streamline the Medicaid and CHIP managed care regulatory framework and to pursue a broader strategy to relieve regulatory burdens, support state flexibility and local leadership, and promote transparency, flexibility, and innovation in the delivery of care. On November 13, 2020, CMS finalized revisions to the Medicaid managed care regulations, many of which became effective in December 2020. While not a wholesale revision of the 2016 regulations, the November 2020 final rule adopts changes in areas including network adequacy, beneficiary protections, quality oversight, and the establishment of capitation rates and payment policies. Although we strive to comply with all existing regulations and to meet performance standards applicable to our business, failure to meet these requirements could result in financial fines and penalties. Also, states or other governmental entities may not allow us to continue to participate in their government programs, or we may fail to win procurements to participate in such programs, either of which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.
In addition, as a result of the expansion of our businesses and operations conducted in foreign countries, we face political, economic, legal, compliance, regulatory, operational and other risks and exposures that are unique and vary by jurisdiction. These foreign regulatory requirements with respect to, among other items, environmental, tax, licensing, intellectual property, privacy, data protection, investment, capital, management control, labor relations, and fraud and corruption regulations are different than those faced by our domestic businesses. In addition, we are subject to U.S. laws that regulate the conduct and activities of U.S.-based businesses operating abroad, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Any failure to comply with laws and regulations governing our conduct outside the United States or to successfully navigate international regulatory regimes that apply to us could adversely affect our ability to market our products and services, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our businesses providing pharmacy benefit management and specialty pharmacy services face regulatory and other risks and uncertainties which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.
We provide pharmacy benefit management (PBM) and specialty pharmacy services, including through our Envolve Pharmacy Solutions product. These businesses are subject to federal and state laws that, among other requirements, govern the relationships of the business with pharmaceutical manufacturers, physicians, pharmacies, customers and consumers. We also conduct business as a mail order pharmacy and specialty pharmacy, which subjects these businesses to extensive federal, state and local laws and regulations. In addition, federal and state legislatures and regulators regularly consider new regulations for the industry that could materially and adversely affect current industry practices, including the receipt or disclosure of rebates from pharmaceutical companies, the development and use of formularies, and the use of average wholesale prices.
Our PBM and specialty pharmacy businesses would be materially and adversely affected by an inability to contract on favorable terms with pharmaceutical manufacturers and other suppliers, including with respect to the structuring of rebates and pricing of new specialty and generic drugs. In addition, our PBM and specialty pharmacy businesses could face potential claims in connection with purported errors by our mail order or specialty pharmacies, including in connection with the risks inherent in
the authorization, compounding, packaging and distribution of pharmaceuticals and other healthcare products. Disruptions at any of our mail order or specialty pharmacies due to an event that is beyond our control could affect our ability to process and dispense prescriptions in a timely manner and could materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.
From time to time, we may become involved in costly and time-consuming litigation and other regulatory proceedings, which require significant attention from our management.
From time to time, we are a defendant in lawsuits and regulatory actions and are subject to investigations relating to our business, including, without limitation, medical malpractice claims, claims by members alleging failure to pay for or provide healthcare, claims related to non-payment or insufficient payments for out-of-network services, claims alleging bad faith, investigations regarding our submission of risk adjuster claims, putative securities class actions, protests and appeals related to Medicaid procurement awards, employment-related disputes, including wage and hour claims, submissions to state agencies related to payments or state false claims acts and claims related to the imposition of new taxes, including but not limited to claims that may have retroactive application. Due to the inherent uncertainties of litigation and regulatory proceedings, we cannot accurately predict the ultimate outcome of any such proceedings. An unfavorable outcome could have a material adverse impact on our business and financial position, results of operations and/or cash flows and may affect our reputation. In addition, regardless of the outcome of any litigation or regulatory proceedings, such proceedings are costly and time consuming and require significant attention from our management, and could therefore harm our business and financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
If we fail to comply with applicable privacy, security, and data laws, regulations and standards, including with respect to third-party service providers that utilize sensitive personal information on our behalf, our business, reputation, results of operations, financial position and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected.
As part of our normal operations, we collect, process and retain confidential member information. We are subject to various federal, state and international laws, regulations, rules and contractual requirements regarding the use and disclosure of confidential member information, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, which require us to protect the privacy of medical records and safeguard personal health information we maintain and use. Certain of our businesses are also subject to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, which is a multifaceted security standard that is designed to protect credit card account data as mandated by payment card industry entities. Despite our best attempts to maintain adherence to information privacy and security best practices, as well as compliance with applicable laws, rules and contractual requirements, our facilities and systems, and those of our third-party service providers, may be vulnerable to privacy or security breaches, acts of vandalism or theft, malware or other forms of cyber-attack, misplaced or lost data including paper or electronic media, programming and/or human errors or other similar events. In the past, we have had data breaches resulting in disclosure of confidential or protected health information that have not resulted in any material financial loss or penalty to date. For example, in January 2021, we learned that Accellion, a third-party data transfer provider with whom we contract, had a system vulnerability that resulted in unauthorized access to certain sensitive data of our customers, including protected health information, over a period of several days in January 2021 as well as unauthorized access to the data of several of Accellion’s other clients. This incident is still under investigation, but we currently do not believe that it will have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, results of operations, financial position and cash flows. However, there can be no assurance that the January 2021 incident and other privacy or security breaches will not require us to expend significant resources to remediate any damage, interrupt our operations and damage our business or reputation, subject us to state, federal, or international agency review, and result in enforcement actions, material fines and penalties, litigation or other actions which could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, results of operations, financial position and cash flows.
In addition, HIPAA broadened the scope of fraud, waste and abuse laws applicable to healthcare companies and established enforcement mechanisms to combat fraud, waste and abuse, including civil and, in some instances, criminal penalties for failure to comply with specific standards relating to the privacy, security and electronic transmission of protected health information. The HITECH Act expanded the scope of these provisions by mandating individual notification in instances of breaches of protected health information, providing enhanced penalties for HIPAA violations, and granting enforcement authority to states' Attorneys General in addition to the HHS Office for Civil Rights. It is possible that Congress may enact additional legislation in the future to increase the amount or application of penalties and to create a private right of action under HIPAA, which could entitle patients to seek monetary damages for violations of the privacy rules.
If we fail to comply with the extensive federal and state fraud, waste and abuse laws, our business, reputation, results of operations, financial position and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected.
We, along with other companies involved in public healthcare programs, are the subject of federal and state fraud, waste and abuse investigations. The regulations and contractual requirements applicable to participants in these public sector programs are complex and subject to change. Violations of fraud, waste and abuse laws applicable to us could result in civil monetary penalties, criminal fines and imprisonment, and/or exclusion from participation in Medicaid, Medicare, TRICARE, and other federal healthcare programs and federally funded state health programs. Fraud, waste and abuse prohibitions encompass a wide range of activities, including kickbacks for referral of members, incorrect and unsubstantiated billing or billing for unnecessary medical services, improper marketing and violations of patient privacy rights. These fraud, waste and abuse laws include the federal False Claims Act, which prohibits the known filing of a false claim or the known use of false statements to obtain payment from the federal government, and the federal anti-kickback statute, which prohibits the payment or receipt of remuneration to induce referrals or recommendations of healthcare items or services. Many states have fraud, waste and abuse laws, including false claim act and anti-kickback statutes that closely resemble the federal False Claims Act and the federal anti-kickback statute. In addition, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 encouraged states to enact state-versions of the federal False Claims Act that establish liability to the state for false and fraudulent Medicaid claims and that provide for, among other things, claims to be filed by qui tam relators (private parties acting on the government's behalf). Federal and state governments have made investigating and prosecuting healthcare fraud, waste and abuse a priority. In the event we fail to comply with the extensive federal and state fraud, waste and abuse laws, our business, reputation, results of operations, financial position and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected.
Risks Relating to Conditions in the Financial Markets and Economy
Our investment portfolio may suffer losses which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations or liquidity.
We maintain a significant investment portfolio of cash equivalents and short-term and long-term investments in a variety of securities, which are subject to general credit, liquidity, market and interest rate risks and will decline in value if interest rates increase or one of the issuers' credit ratings is reduced. Furthermore, COVID-19 has impacted, and may continue to impact, the global economy resulting in significant market volatility and fluctuating interest rates. As a result, we may experience a reduction in value or loss of our investments, which may have a negative adverse effect on our results of operations, liquidity and financial condition.
Adverse credit market conditions may have a material adverse effect on our liquidity or our ability to obtain credit on acceptable terms.
In the past, the securities and credit markets have experienced extreme volatility and disruption, which has increased due to the effects of COVID-19. The availability of credit, from virtually all types of lenders, has at times been restricted. In the event we need access to additional capital to pay our operating expenses, fund subsidiary surplus requirements, make payments on or refinance our indebtedness, pay capital expenditures, or fund acquisitions, our ability to obtain such capital may be limited and the cost of any such capital may be significant, particularly if we are unable to access our existing credit facility.
Our access to additional financing will depend on a variety of factors such as prevailing economic and credit market conditions, the general availability of credit, the overall availability of credit to our industry, our credit ratings and credit capacity, and perceptions of our financial prospects. Similarly, our access to funds may be impaired if regulatory authorities or rating agencies take negative actions against us. If one or any combination of these factors were to occur, our internal sources of liquidity may prove to be insufficient, and in such case, we may not be able to successfully obtain sufficient additional financing on favorable terms, within an acceptable time, or at all.
We have substantial indebtedness outstanding and may incur additional indebtedness in the future. Such indebtedness could reduce our agility and may adversely affect our financial condition.
As of December 31, 2020, we had consolidated indebtedness of $16,779 million. We intend to incur additional indebtedness to finance a portion of the consideration for the Magellan Acquisition, and we may further increase our indebtedness in the future.
This may have the effect, among other things, of reducing our flexibility to respond to changing business and economic conditions and increasing borrowing costs.
Among other things, our revolving credit facility and term loan facility (collectively, the Company Credit Facility) and the indentures governing our notes require us to comply with various covenants that impose restrictions on our operations,
including our ability to incur additional indebtedness, create liens, pay dividends, make certain investments or other restricted payments, sell or otherwise dispose of substantially all of our assets and engage in other activities. Our Company Credit Facility also requires us to comply with a maximum debt-to-EBITDA ratio and a minimum fixed charge coverage ratio. These restrictive covenants could limit our ability to pursue our business strategies. In addition, any failure by us to comply with these restrictive covenants could result in an event of default under our Credit Facility and, in some circumstances, under the indentures governing our notes, which, in any case, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.
Changes in the method pursuant to which the LIBOR rates are determined and potential phasing out of LIBOR after 2021 may affect the value of the financial obligations to be held or issued by us that are linked to LIBOR or our results of operations or financial condition.
As of December 31, 2020, borrowings under our Company Credit Facility bear interest based upon various reference rates, including LIBOR. On July 27, 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority (the authority that regulates LIBOR) announced that it intends to stop compelling banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. On November 30, 2020, ICE Benchmark Administration (IBA), the administrator of LIBOR, announced plans to consult on ceasing the publication of certain U.S. dollar LIBOR rates on December 31, 2021 and to extend the transition for other U.S. dollar LIBOR rates to June 2023. The U.S. Federal Reserve concurrently issued a statement advising banks to stop new U.S. dollar LIBOR issuances by the end of 2021. In light of these recent announcements, the future of LIBOR at this time is uncertain and any changes in the methods by which LIBOR is determined or regulatory activity related to the phasing out of LIBOR could cause LIBOR to perform differently than in the past or cease to exist. The U.S. Federal Reserve, in conjunction with the Alternative Reference Rates Committee, a steering committee comprised of large U.S. financial institutions, announced replacement of U.S. dollar LIBOR with a new index calculated by short-term repurchase agreements, backed by U.S. Treasury securities called the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR). The first publication of SOFR was released in April 2018. Whether or not SOFR attains market traction as a LIBOR replacement tool remains in question and the future of LIBOR at this time is uncertain. As a result, it is not possible to predict the effect of any changes, establishment of alternative references rates or other reforms to LIBOR that may be enacted in the U.K. or elsewhere. The elimination of LIBOR or any other changes or reforms to the determination or supervision of LIBOR could have an adverse impact on the market for or value of any LIBOR-linked securities, loans, and other financial obligations or extensions of credit held by or due to us or on our overall financial condition or results of operations.
Risks Associated with Mergers, Acquisitions, and Divestitures
Mergers and acquisitions may not be accretive and may cause dilution to our earning per share, which may cause the market price of our common stock to decline.
The market price of our common stock is generally subject to volatility, and there can be no assurances regarding the level or stability of our share price at any time. The market price of our common stock may decline as a result of acquisitions, including the Magellan Acquisition, if, among other things, we are unable to achieve the expected cost and revenue synergies or growth in earnings, the operational cost savings estimates in connection with the integration of acquired businesses with ours are not realized as rapidly or to the extent anticipated, the transaction costs related to the acquisitions and integrations are greater than expected or if any financing related to the acquisitions is on unfavorable terms. The market price also may decline if we do not achieve the perceived benefits of the acquisitions, including the Magellan Acquisition, as rapidly or to the extent anticipated by financial or industry analysts or if the effect of the acquisitions on our financial position, results of operations or cash flows is not consistent with the expectations of financial or industry analysts.
We may be unable to successfully integrate our existing business with acquired businesses and realize the anticipated benefits of such acquisitions.
The success of acquisitions we make, including the Magellan Acquisition, will depend, in part, on our ability to successfully combine the existing business of Centene with such acquired businesses and realize the anticipated benefits, including synergies, cost savings, growth in earnings, innovation and operational efficiencies, from the combinations. If we are unable to achieve these objectives within the anticipated time frame, or at all, the anticipated benefits may not be realized fully or at all, or may take longer to realize than expected and the value of our common stock may be harmed.
The integration of acquired businesses, including Magellan Health, with our existing business is a complex, costly and time-consuming process. The integration may result in material challenges, including, without limitation:
•the diversion of management's attention from ongoing business concerns and performance shortfalls as a result of the devotion of management's attention to the integration;
•managing a larger company;
•maintaining employee morale and retaining key management and other employees;
•the possibility of faulty assumptions underlying expectations regarding the integration process;
•retaining existing business and operational relationships and attracting new business and operational relationships;
•consolidating corporate and administrative infrastructures and eliminating duplicative operations;
•coordinating geographically separate organizations;
•unanticipated issues in integrating information technology, communications and other systems;
•unanticipated changes in federal or state laws or regulations, including the ACA and any regulations enacted thereunder;
•unforeseen expenses or delays associated with the acquisition and/or integration;
•achieving actual cost savings at the anticipated levels; and
•decreases in premiums paid under government sponsored healthcare programs by any state in which we operate.
Many of these factors will be outside of our control and any one of them could result in delays, increased costs, decreases in the amount of expected revenues and diversion of management's time and energy, which could materially affect our financial position, results of operations and cash flows. Our ability to successfully manage the expanded business following any given acquisition, including the Magellan Acquisition, will depend, in part, upon management's ability to design and implement strategic initiatives that address not only the integration of two independent stand-alone companies, but also the increased scale and scope of the combined business with its associated increased costs and complexity. There can be no assurances that we will be successful in managing our expanded operations as a result of acquisitions or that we will realize the expected growth in earnings, operating efficiencies, cost savings and other benefits.
The financing arrangements that we entered into in connection with the WellCare Acquisition may, under certain circumstances, contain restrictions and limitations that could significantly impact our ability to operate our business.
We incurred significant new indebtedness in connection with the WellCare Acquisition. Certain of the agreements governing the indebtedness that we incurred in connection with the WellCare Acquisition contains covenants that, among other things, may, under certain circumstances, place limitations on the dollar amounts paid or other actions relating to:
•payments in respect of, or redemptions or acquisitions of, debt or equity issued by us or our subsidiaries, including the payment of dividends on our common stock;
•incurring additional indebtedness;
•incurring guarantee obligations;
•creating liens on assets;
•entering into sale and leaseback transactions;
•making investments, loans or advances;
•entering into hedging transactions;
•engaging in mergers, consolidations or sales of all or substantially all of their respective assets; and
•engaging in certain transactions with affiliates.
In addition, we are required to maintain a minimum amount of excess availability as set forth in these agreements.
Our ability to maintain minimum excess availability in future periods will depend on our ongoing financial and operating performance, which in turn will be subject to economic conditions and to financial, market and competitive factors, many of which are beyond our control. The ability to comply with this covenant in future periods will also depend on our ability to successfully implement its overall business strategy and realize the anticipated benefits of the WellCare Acquisition, including synergies, cost savings, innovation and operational efficiencies.
Various risks, uncertainties and events beyond our control could affect our ability to comply with the covenants contained in our financing agreements. Failure to comply with any of the covenants in our existing or future financing agreements could result in a default under those agreements and under other agreements containing cross-default provisions. A default would permit lenders to accelerate the maturity of the debt under these agreements and to foreclose upon any collateral securing the debt. Under these circumstances, we might not have sufficient funds or other resources to satisfy all of its obligations. In addition, the limitations imposed by financing agreements on our ability to incur additional debt and to take other actions might significantly impair its ability to obtain other financing.
Additional Risks Associated with the Magellan Acquisition
The merger with Magellan Health is subject to conditions, some or all of which may not be satisfied, or completed on a timely basis, if at all. Failure to complete the merger with Magellan Health could have adverse effects on our business.
The completion of the merger is subject to a number of conditions, including, among others, the receipt of U.S. federal antitrust clearance and certain other required state regulatory approvals, which make the completion of the Magellan Acquisition and timing thereof uncertain. Also, either we or Magellan Health may terminate the merger agreement (Merger Agreement) if the Magellan Acquisition is not consummated by October 4, 2021 (subject to an automatic extension to January 4, 2022 in certain circumstances), except that this right to terminate the Merger Agreement will not be available to any party whose failure to perform, in any material respect, any obligation under the Merger Agreement has been the proximate cause of the failure of the merger to be consummated on or before that date.
If the Magellan Acquisition is not completed, our ongoing business may be adversely affected and, without realizing any of the benefits that we could have realized had the Magellan Acquisition been completed, we will be subject to a number of risks, including the following:
•the market price of our common stock could decline;
•inability to secure financing;
•if the Merger Agreement is terminated and our board of directors (Board) seeks another business combination, our stockholders cannot be certain that we will be able to find a party willing to enter into any transaction on terms equivalent to or more attractive than the terms that we and Magellan Health have agreed to in the Merger Agreement;
•time and resources committed by our management to matters relating to the Magellan Acquisition could otherwise have been devoted to pursuing other beneficial opportunities;
•we may experience negative reactions from the financial markets or from our customers or employees; and
•we will be required to pay our costs relating to the Magellan Acquisition, such as legal, accounting, financial advisory and printing fees, whether or not the Magellan Acquisition is completed.
In addition, if the Magellan Acquisition is not completed, we could be subject to litigation related to any failure to complete the Magellan Acquisition or related to any enforcement proceeding commenced against us to perform our obligations under the Merger Agreement. If any such risk materializes, it could adversely impact our ongoing business.
Similarly, delays in the completion of the Magellan Acquisition could, among other things, result in additional transaction costs, loss of revenue or other negative effects associated with uncertainty about completion of the Magellan Acquisition and cause us not to realize some or all of the benefits that we expect to achieve if the Magellan Acquisition is successfully completed within its expected timeframe. We cannot assure you that the conditions to the closing of the Magellan Acquisition will be satisfied or waived or that the Magellan Acquisition will be consummated.
Centene and Magellan Health may be targets of securities class action and derivative lawsuits that could result in substantial costs and may delay or prevent the Magellan Acquisition from being completed.
Securities class action lawsuits and derivative lawsuits are often brought against public companies that have entered into merger agreements. Even if the lawsuits are without merit, defending against these claims can result in substantial costs and divert management time and resources. An adverse judgment could result in monetary damages, which could have a negative impact on Centene’s and Magellan Health’s respective liquidity and financial condition. Additionally, if a plaintiff is successful in obtaining an injunction prohibiting completion of the Magellan Acquisition, then that injunction may delay or prevent the Magellan Acquisition from being completed, or from being completed within the expected timeframe, which may adversely affect Centene’s business, financial position and results of operation. Currently, Centene is not aware of any securities class action lawsuits or derivative lawsuits having been filed in connection with the Magellan Acquisition.
Completion of the Magellan Acquisition may trigger change in control or other provisions in certain agreements to which Magellan Health or its subsidiaries are a party, which may have an adverse impact on the combined company’s business and results of operations.
The completion of the Magellan Acquisition may trigger change in control and other provisions in certain agreements to which Magellan Health or its subsidiaries are a party. If we and Magellan Health are unable to negotiate waivers of those provisions, the counterparties may exercise their rights and remedies under the agreements, potentially terminating the agreements or seeking monetary damages. Even if we and Magellan Health are able to negotiate waivers, the counterparties may require a fee
for such waivers or seek to renegotiate the agreements on terms less favorable to Magellan Health or the combined company. Any of the foregoing or similar developments may have an adverse impact on the combined company’s business and results of operations.
General Risk Factors
We may be unable to attract, retain or effectively manage the succession of key personnel.
We are highly dependent on our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel to operate and expand our business. We may be adversely impacted if we are unable to adequately plan for the succession of our executives and senior management. While we have succession plans in place for members of our executive and senior management team, these plans do not guarantee that the services of our executive and senior management team will continue to be available to us. Our ability to replace any departed members of our executive and senior management team or other key employees may be difficult and may take an extended period of time because of the limited number of individuals in the Managed Care and Specialty Services industry with the breadth of skills and experience required to operate and successfully expand a business such as ours. Competition to hire from this limited pool is intense, and we may be unable to hire, train, retain or motivate these personnel. If we are unable to attract, retain and effectively manage the succession plans for key personnel, executives and senior management, our business and financial position, results of operations or cash flows could be harmed.
Future issuances and sales of additional shares of preferred or common stock could reduce the market price of our shares of common stock.
We may, from time to time, issue additional securities to raise capital or in connection with acquisitions. We often acquire interests in other companies by using a combination of cash and our common stock or just our common stock. Further, shares of preferred stock may be issued from time to time in one or more series as our Board of Directors may from time to time determine each such series to be distinctively designated. The issuance of any such preferred stock could materially adversely affect the rights of holders of our common stock. Any of these events may dilute your ownership interest in our company and have an adverse impact on the price of our common stock.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
We own our corporate office headquarters buildings and land located in St. Louis, Missouri, which is used by each of our reportable segments. We generally lease space in the states where our health plans, specialty companies and claims processing facilities operate. We are required by various insurance and regulatory authorities to have offices in the service areas where we provide benefits. We believe our current facilities and expansion plans are adequate to meet our operational needs for the foreseeable future.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
A description of the legal proceedings to which we and our subsidiaries are a party is contained in Note 18. Contingencies to the consolidated financial statements included in Part II of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and is incorporated herein by reference.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Market for Common Stock
Our common stock has been traded and quoted on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "CNC" since October 16, 2003. The high and low prices, as reported by the NYSE, are set forth below for the periods indicated.
2021 Stock Price (through
February 19, 2021)
|2020 Stock Price||2019 Stock Price|
|First Quarter||$||70.26 ||$||57.71 ||$||68.64 ||$||43.96 ||$||69.25 ||$||49.56 |
|Second Quarter||74.70 ||53.83 ||58.25 ||45.44 |
|Third Quarter||68.45 ||53.60 ||54.89 ||42.77 |
|Fourth Quarter||72.31 ||57.56 ||63.79 ||41.62 |
As of February 19, 2021, there were 1,120 holders of record of our common stock.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
In 2009, our Board of Directors extended our stock repurchase program. The initial program authorized the repurchase of up to 6.7 million shares of our common stock from time to time on the open market or through privately negotiated transactions. In October 2019, our Board of Directors approved a $500 million increase to our Company's stock repurchase program, based on the stock price at the close of the WellCare Acquisition. During the first quarter of 2020, we used proceeds from divestitures to repurchase 8.7 million shares of Centene common stock for $500 million through our stock repurchase program. We have approximately 5.5 million available shares remaining under the program for repurchases as of December 31, 2020. In February 2021, our Board of Directors approved an increase in the Company's existing share repurchase program for its common stock. With the increase, the Company is authorized to repurchase up to $1.0 billion of shares of the Company's common stock, inclusive of the previously approved stock repurchase program. No duration has been placed on the repurchase program. We reserve the right to discontinue the repurchase program at any time.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Fourth Quarter 2020
(shares in thousands)
Total Number of
Part of Publicly
Number of Shares
that May Yet Be
the Plans or
October 1 – October 31, 2020
|3||$||65.26 ||— ||5,488|
November 1 – November 30, 2020
|4||64.40 ||— ||5,488|
December 1 – December 31, 2020
|867||61.04 ||— ||5,488|
|Total||874||$||61.07 ||— ||5,488|
|(1) Shares acquired represent shares relinquished to the Company by certain employees for payment of taxes or option cost upon vesting of restricted stock units or option exercise.|
(2) Our Board of Directors adopted a stock repurchase program which allows for repurchases of up to 14,160 thousand shares. A remaining amount of 5,488 thousand shares are available under the program. No duration has been placed on the repurchase program.
Stock Performance Graph
The graph below compares the cumulative total stockholder return on our common stock for the period from December 31, 2015 to December 31, 2020 with the cumulative total return of the New York Stock Exchange Composite Index, the Standard & Poor's Supercomposite Managed Healthcare Index and the Standard & Poor's 500 over the same period. Standard & Poor's 500 is included because our common stock is within the index. The graph assumes an investment of $100 on December 31, 2015 in our common stock (at the last reported sale price on such day), the New York Stock Exchange Composite Index, the Standard & Poor's Supercomposite Managed Healthcare Index, and the Standard & Poor's 500 and assumes the reinvestment of any dividends.
|Centene Corporation||$||100.00 ||$||85.87 ||$||153.31 ||$||175.23 ||$||191.09 ||$||182.46 |
|New York Stock Exchange Composite Index||100.00 ||109.01 ||126.28 ||112.14 ||137.16 ||143.19 |
S&P Supercomposite Managed Healthcare Index
|100.00 ||118.21 ||168.16 ||185.45 ||220.03 ||252.75 |
|S&P 500||100.00 ||109.54 ||130.81 ||122.65 ||158.07 ||183.77 |
|Centene Corporation closing stock price||$||32.90 ||$||28.25 ||$||50.44 ||$||57.65 ||$||62.87 ||$||60.03 |
|Centene Corporation annual stockholder return||26.7 ||%||(14.1)||%||78.5 ||%||14.3 ||%||9.1 ||%||(4.5)||%|
In accordance with the rules of the SEC, the information contained in the Stock Performance Graph on this page shall not be deemed to be "soliciting material," or to be "filed" with the SEC or subject to the SEC's Regulation 14A, or to the liabilities of Section 18 of the Exchange Act, except to the extent that Centene specifically requests that the information be treated as soliciting material or specifically incorporates it by reference into a document filed under the Securities Act, or the Exchange Act.
Item 6. Removed and reserved.
ITEM 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
The following discussion of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this filing. The discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including those set forth under Part I, Item 1A."Risk Factors" of this Form 10-K. The following discussion and analysis does not include certain items related to the year ended December 31, 2018, including year-to-year comparisons between the year ended December 31, 2019 and the year ended December 31, 2018. For a comparison of our results of operations for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, see Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, filed with the SEC on February 18, 2020.
We are a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise that is committed to helping people live healthier lives. We take a local approach - with local brands and local teams - to provide fully integrated, high-quality, and cost-effective services to government-sponsored and commercial healthcare programs, focusing on under-insured and uninsured individuals.
Results of operations depend on our ability to manage expenses associated with health benefits (including estimated costs incurred) and selling, general and administrative (SG&A) costs. We measure operating performance based upon two key ratios. The health benefits ratio (HBR) represents medical costs as a percentage of premium revenues, excluding premium tax and health insurer fee revenues that are separately billed, and reflects the direct relationship between the premiums received and the medical services provided. The SG&A expense ratio represents SG&A costs as a percentage of premium and service revenues, excluding premium tax and health insurer fee revenues that are separately billed.
Our insurance subsidiaries are subject to the Affordable Care Act annual health insurer fee (HIF), absent a HIF moratorium or repeal. We recognize revenue for reimbursement of the HIF, including the "gross-up" to reflect the non-deductibility of the HIF. Collectively, this revenue is recorded as premium tax and health insurer fee revenue in the Consolidated Statements of Operations. For certain products, premium taxes, state assessments and the HIF are not pass-through payments and are recorded as premium revenue and premium tax expense or health insurer fee expense in the Consolidated Statements of Operations. A moratorium suspended the HIF for the 2019 calendar year. Due to the size of the health insurer fee, one of the primary drivers of the year-over-year variances discussed throughout this section is related to the reinstatement of the HIF in 2020. The HIF has been repealed beginning in 2021.
On January 23, 2020, we acquired all of the issued and outstanding shares of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (WellCare) (the WellCare Acquisition). The transaction was valued at $19.6 billion, including the assumption of $1.95 billion of outstanding debt. The WellCare Acquisition brought a high-quality Medicare platform and further extended our robust Medicaid offerings. The combination enables us to provide access to more comprehensive and differentiated solutions across more markets with a continued focus on affordable, high-quality, culturally-sensitive healthcare services.
Due to the size of the acquisition, one of the primary drivers of the year-over-year variances discussed throughout this section is related to the acquisition of WellCare.
In January 2021, we announced that we entered into a definitive merger agreement under which we will acquire Magellan Health for $95.00 per share in cash for a total enterprise value of approximately $2.2 billion. The transaction will broaden and deepen our whole health capabilities and establish a leading behavioral health platform. The transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott Rodino Act, receipt of required state regulatory approvals, the approval of the definitive merger agreement by Magellan Health's stockholders and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is not contingent upon financing. We intend to fund the acquisition primarily through debt financing. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2021.
We continued to execute on our growth strategy through acquisitions during 2020. In the fourth quarter of 2020, we acquired PANTHERx and Apixio. PANTHERx is one of the largest and fastest-growing specialty pharmacies in the United States
specializing in orphan drugs and treating rare diseases. PANTHERx and its management team will continue to operate independently as part of our Envolve Pharmacy Solutions business unit, a total drug management program that includes integrated PBM services and specialty pharmacy solutions to millions of members throughout the United States. Apixio is a healthcare analytics company offering artificial intelligence technology solutions. With this transaction, we will continue to digitize the administration of healthcare and accelerate innovation and modernization across the enterprise. Apixio will remain an operationally independent entity as part of our Health Care Enterprises group to continue bringing value to its clients and the industry, while also realizing the benefits of enhanced scale.
COVID-19 Trends and Uncertainties
The COVID-19 outbreak has created unique and unprecedented challenges. To support our members, providers, employees and the communities we serve, we have taken several actions and made numerous investments related to the COVID-19 crisis. We have extended coverage of COVID-19 screening, testing and treatment services for Medicaid, Medicare and Marketplace members and are waiving all associated member cost share amounts. We are delivering new critical support to Safety Net providers, including Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers (FQHCs), behavioral health providers, and long-term service and support organizations. We continue to address social determinants of health for vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 crisis with a commitment to research and investment in non-medical barriers to achieving quality health outcomes. We developed initiatives designed to support the disability community affected by the pandemic. We created a provider support program to assist our network providers who are seeking benefits from the Small Business Administration (SBA) through the CARES Act. We established a Medical Reserve Leave policy to support clinical employees who want to join a medical reserve force and serve their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are providing additional employee benefits including waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 related treatment, emergency paid sick leave, and one-time payments to employees in a small number of critical office functions.
We have taken significant steps to support our employees to protect their health and safety, while also ensuring that our business can continue to operate and that services continue without disruption. We have implemented our business continuity plans and have taken actions to support our workforce. We have transitioned the vast majority of our employees to work from home, allowing Centene to continue to operate at close to full capacity, while continuing to maintain our internal control framework. As a result, we have experienced and expect continued incremental costs due to investments and actions we have already taken and continued efforts to protect our members, employees and communities we serve.
The impact on our business in both the short-term and long-term is uncertain. The outlook for 2021 depends on future developments, including but not limited to: the length and severity of the outbreak (including new strains, which may be more contagious, more severe or less responsive to treatment or vaccines), the effectiveness of containment actions, and the timing around the development of treatments and distribution of vaccinations. The pandemic and these future developments have impacted and will continue to affect our membership and medical utilization. From March 31, 2020 through December 31, 2020, our Medicaid membership has increased by 1.7 million members. The pandemic also has the potential to impact the administration of state and federal healthcare programs, premium rates and risk sharing mechanisms. We continue to have active dialogues with our state partners.
Medical utilization continues to normalize as elective procedures and other non-emergent care resume, consistent with our expectations. We have experienced and continue to expect incremental COVID-19 costs as the outbreak continues to spread. In addition, the pandemic has widespread economic impact, driving interest rate decreases and lowering our investment income.
The impact of all these items slightly benefited our 2020 results. We are confident we have the team, systems, expertise and financial strength to continue to effectively navigate this challenging pandemic landscape.
Regulatory Trends and Uncertainties
The United States government, politicians, and healthcare experts continue to discuss and debate various elements of the United States healthcare model. We remain focused on the promise of delivering access to high quality, affordable healthcare to all of our members and believe we are well positioned to meet the needs of the changing healthcare landscape. We have more than three decades of experience, spanning seven presidents from both sides of the aisle, in delivering high-quality healthcare services on behalf of states and the federal government to under-insured and uninsured families, commercial organizations and military families. This expertise has allowed us to deliver cost effective services to our government sponsors and our members. While healthcare experts maintain focus on personalized healthcare technology, we continue to make strategic decisions to accelerate development of new software platforms and analytical capabilities. We continue to believe we have both the capacity and capability to successfully navigate industry changes to the benefit of our members, customers and shareholders.
For additional information regarding regulatory trends and uncertainties, see Part I, Item 1 "Business - Regulation" and Item 1A, "Risk Factors."
Our financial performance for 2020 is summarized as follows:
•Year-end managed care membership of 25.5 million, an increase of 10.3 million members, or 67% over 2019.
•Total revenues of $111.1 billion, representing 49% growth year-over-year.
•HBR of 86.2% for 2020, compared to 87.3% for 2019.
•SG&A expense ratio of 9.5% for 2020, compared to 9.3% for 2019.
•Adjusted SG&A expense ratio of 8.9% for 2020, compared to 9.2% for 2019.
•Diluted EPS of $3.12 for 2020, compared to $3.14 for 2019.
•Adjusted Diluted EPS of $5.00 for 2020, compared to $4.42 for 2019.
•Operating cash flows of $5.5 billion, or 3.1 times net earnings, for 2020.
A reconciliation from GAAP diluted EPS to Adjusted Diluted EPS is highlighted below, and additional detail is provided under the heading "Non-GAAP Financial Presentation":
|Year Ended December 31,|
|GAAP diluted EPS attributable to Centene||$||3.12 ||$||3.14 |
|Amortization of acquired intangible assets ||0.95 ||0.47 |
|Acquisition related expenses ||0.86 ||0.19 |
Other adjustments (1)
|0.07 ||0.62 |
|Adjusted Diluted EPS||$||5.00 ||$||4.42 |
(1) Other adjustments include the following items:
•2020 - gain related to the divestiture of certain products of our Illinois health plan of $104 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, net of an income tax expense of $0.08; (b) non-cash impairment of our third-party care management software business of $72 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, net of an income tax benefit of $0.02; and (c) debt extinguishment costs of $61 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, net of an income tax benefit of $0.04; and
•2019 - non-cash goodwill and intangible asset impairment of $271 million or $0.57 per diluted share, net of an income tax benefit of $0.08 and debt extinguishment costs of $30 million or $0.05 per diluted share, net of an income tax benefit of $0.02.
The following items contributed to our revenue and membership growth in 2020:
•Arkansas. In March 2019, our Arkansas subsidiary, Arkansas Total Care, assumed full-risk on a Medicaid special needs population comprised of people with high behavioral health needs and individuals with developmental/intellectual disabilities.
•Correctional. In July 2020, Centurion commenced a two-year contract with the Kansas Department of Administration to provide healthcare services in the Department of Corrections’ facilities. In April 2020, Centurion began providing medical services, behavioral healthcare, and substance abuse treatment within four prisons and six community corrections centers across the state of Delaware. In July 2019, Centurion began operating under a contract to provide comprehensive healthcare services to inmates housed in Arizona's state prison system, and also began operating under a re-awarded contract to continue the provision of mental and dental health services to the Georgia Department of
Correction's state prison facilities. In February 2019, Centurion began operating under a new contract to provide comprehensive healthcare services to detainees of the Metropolitan Detention Center located in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
•Florida. In December 2018, our Florida subsidiary, Sunshine Health, began providing physical and behavioral healthcare services through Florida's Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Program under its new five year contract which was implemented for all 11 regions by February 2019.
•Health Insurance Marketplace. In January 2020, we expanded our offerings in the 2020 Health Insurance Marketplace in ten existing markets: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.
•HealthSmart. In May 2019, we acquired HealthSmart, a third party administrator providing customizable and scalable health plan solutions for self-funded employers, universities and colleges, and Native American Tribal Enterprises. Services include plan administration, care management and wellness programs, network, casualty claim, and pharmacy benefit solutions.
•Illinois. In July 2020, our Illinois subsidiary, Meridian Health Plan of Illinois, Inc. (Meridian), began serving Medicaid members in Cook County, Illinois, as a result of a Member Transfer Agreement under which Meridian was assigned 100% of NextLevel Health Partners, Inc.’s approximately 54,000 members who access benefits from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ HealthChoice Illinois Program. In February 2020, we began operating in Illinois under an expanded contract for the Medicaid Managed Care Program. The expanded contract includes children who are in need through the Department of Children and Family Services/Youth Care by Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and Foster Care.
•Iowa. In July 2019, our Iowa subsidiary, Iowa Total Care, Inc., began operating under a new statewide contract for the IA Health Link Program.
•Louisiana. In January 2020, our Louisiana subsidiary, Louisiana HealthCare Connections, began operating under an emergency contract extension in response to protested contract awards. Louisiana’s state procurement officer overturned the Louisiana Department of Health’s plan to award Medicaid contracts to four health plans, excluding our Louisiana subsidiary. According to the chief procurement officer, the state health department failed to follow state law or its own evaluation and bid guidelines in its award.
•Medicare. In January 2020, we expanded our Medicare offerings. We entered Nevada and expanded our footprint in twelve existing markets: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
•New Hampshire. In September 2019, our New Hampshire subsidiary, NH Healthy Families, began operating under a new five-year contract to continue to provide service to Medicaid enrollees statewide.
•Pennsylvania. In January 2018, our Pennsylvania subsidiary, Pennsylvania Health and Wellness, began serving enrollees in the Community HealthChoices program as part of the statewide contract that was fully implemented in January 2020.
•QualChoice. In April 2019, we completed the acquisition of QCA Health Plan, Inc. and QualChoice Life and Health Insurance Company, Inc. The acquisition expands our footprint in Arkansas by adding additional members primarily through commercial products.
•Spain. In December 2019, our Spanish subsidiary, Ribera Salud, acquired 93% of Hospital Povisa, S.A., a private hospital in the Vigo region of Spain. In June 2019, Primero Salud, acquired additional ownership in Ribera Salud, increasing our ownership in the Spanish healthcare company from 50% to 90%.
•Washington. In January 2019, our Washington State subsidiary, Coordinated Care of Washington, began providing managed care services to Apple Health’s Fully Integrated Managed Care beneficiaries in the Greater Columbia, King and Pierce Regions. This integration continued with the addition of the North Sound Region in July 2019.
•WellCare. On January 23, 2020, we completed the WellCare Acquisition. The WellCare Acquisition brought a high-quality Medicare platform and further extended our robust Medicaid offerings. The transaction was valued at $19.6 billion, including the assumption of $1.95 billion of outstanding debt.
•In addition, revenue and membership growth was significantly driven by the suspension of eligibility redeterminations and increased unemployment levels as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the reinstatement of the health insurer fee in 2020.
The growth items listed above were partially offset by the following items:
•Effective October 2020, we no longer serve members under the correctional contract in Mississippi.
•In September 2020, our Oregon subsidiary, Trillium Community Health Plan, began operating under an expanded contract serving as a coordinated care organization for six counties in the state; however, an additional competitor was added to Lane County. As a result, our membership decreased.
•Effective August 2020, we no longer serve members under the Military & Family Life Counseling Program contract.
•Effective July 2020, we no longer serve members under the state-wide correctional contract in Vermont.
•In January 2020, in connection with the WellCare Acquisition, we completed the divestiture of certain products in our Illinois health plan, including the Medicaid and Medicare Advantage lines of business.
•Effective December 2019, we no longer serve members under the state-wide correctional contract in New Mexico.
•Beginning in January 2019, Health Net of Arizona, Inc. began discontinuing and non-renewing all of its Employer Group plans for small and large business groups in Arizona. The effective date of coverage termination for existing groups is dependent on remaining renewals; however, coverage is no longer provided to any group policyholders and/or members as of December 31, 2019.
We expect the following items to contribute to our revenue or future growth potential:
•We expect to realize the full year benefit in 2021 of acquisitions, investments, and business commenced during 2020, as discussed above.
•In January 2021, Centene announced that its Oklahoma subsidiary, Oklahoma Complete Health, has been selected by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) for statewide contracts to provide managed care for the SoonerSelect and, on a sole source basis, SoonerSelect Specialty Children's Plan (SCP) (foster care) programs. The state expects to commence the SoonerSelect and SoonerSelect SCP Programs on October 1, 2021.
•In January 2021, we began administering the Buckley Prime Service Area Pilot in the Denver, Colorado area, which is a TRICARE pilot program to value-based payment arrangements not currently an option in the fee-for-service T2017 reimbursement model.
•In January 2021, we announced that we entered into a definitive merger agreement under which we will acquire Magellan Health for $95.00 per share in cash for a total enterprise value of approximately $2.2 billion. The transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott Rodino Act, receipt of required state regulatory approvals, the approval of the definitive merger agreement by Magellan Health's stockholders and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2021.
•In January 2021, we expanded our offerings in the Health Insurance Marketplace. We expanded our Marketplace product, branded Ambetter, in nearly 400 new counties across 13 existing states. In addition, Ambetter-branded Marketplace products is now offered in two new states, New Mexico and Michigan.
•In December 2020, we acquired PANTHERx, one of the largest and fastest-growing specialty pharmacies in the United States specializing in orphan drugs and treating rare diseases.
•In December 2020, we acquired Apixio Inc., a healthcare analytics company offering artificial intelligence technology solutions. With this transaction, we will continue to digitize the administration of healthcare and accelerate innovation
and modernization across the enterprise.
•In October 2019, our North Carolina joint venture, Carolina Complete Health, was awarded an additional service area to provide Medicaid managed care services in Region 4. With the addition of this new Region, Carolina Complete Health will provide Medicaid managed care services in three contiguous regions: Region 3, 4 and 5. In February 2019, WellCare was awarded a statewide contract to administer the state’s Medicaid Prepaid Health Plans. The new contracts are expected to commence in mid-2021.
The future growth items listed above are partially offset by the following items:
•In October 2020, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published updated Medicare Star quality ratings for the 2021 rating year. Approximately 30% of our Medicare members are in a 4 star or above plan for the 2022 bonus year, compared to 46% for the 2021 bonus year. Our quality bonus and rebates may be negatively impacted in 2021 and 2022, if we are unable to utilize mitigation strategies.
•Beginning in 2021, the health insurer fee has been repealed, which will result in a decrease in revenue.
•We expect a decrease in our marketplace membership driven by a reduction in the state of Florida, resulting from price competition in three highly populated counties.
•We expect Medicaid eligibility redeterminations to begin on May 1, 2021, resulting in a decrease in membership.
From December 31, 2019 to December 31, 2020, we increased our managed care membership by 10.3 million, or 67%. The following table sets forth our membership by line of business:
Traditional Medicaid (1)
|12,055,400 ||7,573,600 |
High Acuity Medicaid (2)
|1,554,700 ||1,110,000 |
|Total Medicaid||13,610,100 ||8,683,600 |
|Commercial||2,633,600 ||2,331,100 |
|955,400 ||359,600 |
|Medicare PDP||4,469,400 ||— |
|International||597,700 ||599,800 |
|Correctional||147,200 ||180,000 |
|Total at-risk membership||22,413,400 ||12,154,100 |
|TRICARE eligibles||2,877,900 ||2,860,700 |
|Non-risk membership||231,600 ||227,000 |
|Total||25,522,900 ||15,241,800 |
(1) Membership includes TANF, Medicaid Expansion, CHIP, Foster Care and Behavioral Health
(2) Membership includes ABD, IDD, LTSS and MMP Duals
(3) Membership includes Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement
The following table sets forth additional membership statistics, which are included in the membership information above:
|1,066,800 ||639,200 |
|Health Insurance Marketplace||2,131,600 ||1,805,200 |
|Medicaid Expansion||2,181,400 ||1,346,700 |
(4) Membership that is eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare benefits.
From December 31, 2019 to December 31, 2020, our membership increased as a result of:
•the WellCare Acquisition;
•Medicaid membership growth related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
•membership growth in our Health Insurance Marketplace business; and
•expansions, new programs and growth in many of our states.
RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The following discussion and analysis is based on our Consolidated Statements of Operations, which reflect our results of operations for years ended December 31, 2020, and 2019, respectively, prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States ($ in millions, except per share data in dollars):
| ||2020||2019||% Change 2019-2020|
|Premium||$||100,055 ||$||67,439 ||48 ||%|
|Service||3,745 ||2,925 ||28 ||%|
|Premium and service revenues||103,800 ||70,364 ||48 ||%|
|Premium tax and health insurer fee||7,315 ||4,275 ||71 ||%|
|Total revenues||111,115 ||74,639 ||49 ||%|
|Medical costs||86,264 ||58,862 ||47 ||%|
|Cost of services||3,303 ||2,465 ||34 ||%|
|Selling, general and administrative expenses||9,867 ||6,533 ||51 ||%|
|Amortization of acquired intangible assets||719 ||258 ||179 ||%|
|Premium tax expense||6,332 ||4,469 ||42 ||%|
Health insurer fee expense
|1,476 ||— ||n.m.|
|Goodwill and intangible impairment||72 ||271 ||(73)||%|
|Earnings from operations||3,082 ||1,781 ||73 ||%|
|Other income (expense):|
Investment and other income
|480 ||443 ||8 ||%|
Debt extinguishment costs
|Earnings before income tax expense||2,773 ||1,782 ||56 ||%|
|Income tax expense||979 ||473 ||107 ||%|
|Net earnings||1,794 ||1,309 ||37 ||%|
Loss attributable to noncontrolling interests
|14 ||12 ||17 ||%|
|Net earnings attributable to Centene Corporation||$||1,808 ||$||1,321 ||37 ||%|
Diluted earnings per common share attributable to Centene Corporation:
|$||3.12 ||$||3.14 ||(1)||%|
n.m.: not meaningful
Year Ended December 31, 2020 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2019
The following table sets forth supplemental revenue information for the year ended December 31, ($ in millions):
|2020||2019||% Change 2019-2020|
|Medicaid||$||74,785 ||$||51,831 ||44 ||%|
|Commercial||17,071 ||14,747 ||16 ||%|
|11,976 ||4,248 ||182 ||%|
|Medicare PDP||2,403 ||— ||n.m.|
|Other||4,880 ||3,813 ||28 ||%|
|Total Revenues||$||111,115 ||$||74,639 ||49 ||%|
(1) Medicare includes Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement
|n.m.: not meaningful|
Total revenues increased 49% in the year ended December 31, 2020, over the corresponding period in 2019, primarily due to the acquisition of WellCare, growth in the Medicaid and Health Insurance Marketplace businesses, and the reinstatement of the health insurer fee in 2020. Additionally, the net effect of the pandemic increased our revenues due to the suspension of Medicaid eligibility redeterminations. The increase was partially offset by the divestiture of our Illinois health plan. During the twelve months ended December 31, 2020, we received premium rate adjustments which yielded a net 1% composite increase across all of our markets.
Results of operations depend on our ability to manage expenses associated with health benefits and to accurately estimate costs incurred. The HBR represents medical costs as a percentage of premium revenues, excluding premium tax and health insurer fee revenues that are separately billed, and reflects the direct relationship between the premiums received and the medical services provided.
The HBR for the year ended December 31, 2020 was 86.2%, a decrease of 110 basis points over the comparable period in 2019. The HBR decrease was primarily attributable to lower medical utilization trends due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACA risk corridor receivable settlement and the reinstatement of the health insurer fee. The decrease was partially offset by performance in the Health Insurance Marketplace business, the implementation of retroactive state premium rate adjustments and risk sharing mechanisms, and higher testing and treatment costs associated with COVID-19.
Cost of Services
Cost of services increased by $838 million in the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to the corresponding period in 2019, primarily attributable to increased volume in our specialty pharmacy business, increased non-specialty pharmacy sales to our recently divested Illinois health plan, and growth from acquired businesses.
The cost of service ratio for the year ended December 31, 2020 was 88.2%, compared to 84.3% in 2019. The increase in the cost of service ratio was driven by the results of lower revenue from the shared savings programs in our physician home health business and higher non-specialty pharmacy sales to our recently divested Illinois health plan, which carries a higher cost of service ratio.
Selling, General & Administrative Expenses
SG&A increased by $3.3 billion in the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to the corresponding period in 2019. The SG&A increase was primarily due to the addition of the WellCare business, expansions, new programs and growth in many of our states in 2020, and $580 million of acquisition related expense in the year ended December 31, 2020.
The SG&A expense ratio was 9.5% for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to 9.3% for the year ended December 31, 2019. The 2020 SG&A expense ratio increased due to higher acquisition and integration related expenses primarily due to the WellCare acquisition, the $275 million charitable contribution to our foundation and enhanced growth and profitability initiatives for our Medicare and Health Insurance Marketplace businesses (both as a result of the one-time ACA risk corridor settlement). These items were partially offset by leveraging of expenses over higher revenues as a result of the WellCare acquisition.
The Adjusted SG&A expense ratio was 8.9% for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to 9.2% for the year ended December 31, 2019. The Adjusted SG&A expense ratio benefited from leveraging of expenses over higher revenues as a result of the WellCare acquisition, partially offset by the $275 million charitable contribution to our foundation and enhanced growth and profitability initiatives for our Medicare and Health Insurance Marketplace businesses.
Health Insurer Fee Expense
Health insurer fee expense was $1.5 billion for the year ended December 31, 2020. As a result of the health insurer fee moratorium, which suspended the health insurance provider fee for the 2019 calendar year, we did not record health insurer fee expense for the year ended December 31, 2019.
During the first quarter of 2020, we recorded $72 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, of non-cash impairment of our third-party care management software business. In 2019, we recorded $271 million, or $0.57 per diluted share, of non-cash goodwill and intangible asset impairment. Substantially all of the 2019 impairment is associated with our USMM physician home health business and was identified as part of our quarterly review procedures, which included an analysis of new information related to our shared savings programs, slower than expected penetration of the physician home health business model into our Medicaid population, and the related impact to revised forecasts.
Other Income (Expense)
The following table summarizes the components of other income (expense) for the year ended December 31, ($ in millions):
|Investment and other income||$||480 ||$||443 |
|Debt extinguishment costs||(61)||(30)|
|Other income (expense), net||$||(309)||$||1 |
Investment and other income. Investment and other income increased by $37 million for year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 2019. The increase in investment income in 2020 was due to a $104 million gain related to the divestiture of certain products of our Illinois health plan as part of the previously announced divestiture agreements associated with the WellCare Acquisition as well as overall higher investment balances, partially offset by lower interest rates.
Debt extinguishment costs. In October 2020, we redeemed all of the $1.0 billion 4.75% Senior Notes due 2022 (the 2022 Notes) and the $1.2 billion 5.25% Senior Notes due 2025 (the 2025 Notes). We recognized a pre-tax loss on extinguishment of $17 million on the redemption of the 2022 Notes and the 2025 Notes in the fourth quarter of 2020, including the call premiums and write-off of unamortized debt issuance costs. In February 2020, we redeemed all of our outstanding $1.0 billion 6.125% Senior Notes, due February 15, 2024 (the 2024 Notes) and recognized a pre-tax loss on extinguishment of $44 million. The loss includes the call premium, the write-off of unamortized debt issuance costs and the loss on the termination of the $1.0 billion interest rate swap associated with the 2024 Notes. In October 2019, we redeemed the outstanding principal balance on the $1.4 billion 5.625% Senior Notes due February 15, 2021 (the 2021 Notes). We recognized a pre-tax loss on extinguishment of $30 million on the redemption of the 2021 Notes, including the call premium, the write-off of unamortized debt issuance costs and a loss on the termination of the $600 million interest rate swap agreement associated with the notes.
Interest expense. Interest expense increased by $316 million in the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to the corresponding period in 2019. The increase is driven by an increase in borrowings related to the issuance of an additional $7.0 billion in senior notes in December 2019 to finance the cash consideration of the WellCare Acquisition as well as the $1.9 billion of WellCare Notes assumed upon acquisition. The increase was also driven by incremental interest expense related to our decision to preserve an additional $1.0 billion of liquidity due to the economic environment created by COVID-19.
Income Tax Expense
For the year ended December 31, 2020, we recorded income tax expense of $979 million on pre-tax earnings of $2.8 billion, or an effective tax rate of 35.3%. The effective tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2020 reflects the tax impact associated with the Illinois divestiture and the reinstatement of the health insurer fee in 2020, partially offset by a favorable tax settlement. For the year ended December 31, 2019, we recorded income tax expense of $473 million on pre-tax earnings of $1.8 billion, or an effective tax rate of 26.5%, which reflects the impact of the health insurer fee moratorium, partially offset by the non-deductibility of a portion of our non-cash goodwill and intangible impairment recorded in the third quarter of 2019.
The following table summarizes our consolidated operating results by segment for the year ended December 31, ($ in millions):
| ||2020||2019||% Change|
|Total Revenues|| || || |
|Managed Care||$||107,296 ||$||71,379 ||50 ||%|
|Specialty Services||16,155 ||13,781 ||17 ||%|
|Consolidated Total||$||111,115 ||$||74,639 ||49 ||%|
|Earnings from Operations|| || |
|Managed Care||$||3,031 ||$||1,806 ||68 ||%|
|Specialty Services||51 ||(25)||304 ||%|
|Consolidated Total||$||3,082 ||$||1,781 ||73 ||%|
Total revenues increased 50% in the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to the corresponding period in 2019, primarily due to the acquisition of WellCare, growth in the Medicaid and Health Insurance Marketplace businesses, and the reinstatement of the health insurer fee in 2020. Additionally, the net effect of the pandemic increased our revenues due to the suspension of Medicaid eligibility redeterminations. The increase was partially offset by the divestiture of our Illinois health plan. Earnings from operations increased $1.2 billion between years driven by the acquisition of WellCare, lower medical utilization due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the reinstatement of the health insurer fee in 2020, partially offset by higher acquisition related expenses, retroactive state premium rate adjustments and risk sharing mechanisms, and higher testing and treatment costs associated with COVID-19, particularly in the Health Insurance Marketplace business.
Total revenues increased 17% in the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to the corresponding period in 2019, resulting primarily from increased services associated with membership growth in the Managed Care segment, acquisitions and increased volume in our specialty pharmacy business. Earnings from operations increased $76 million between years. Earnings from operations in 2020 was negatively affected by the previously discussed impairment related to our third-party care management software business and the results of the shared savings programs in our physician home health business. Earnings from operations in 2019 were negatively affected by the previously discussed non-cash goodwill and intangible impairment related to our USMM physician home health business.
LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES
Shown below is a condensed schedule of cash flows for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, used in the discussion of liquidity and capital resources ($ in millions).
| ||Year Ended December 31,|
|Net cash provided by operating activities||$||5,503 ||$||1,483 |
|Net cash used in investing activities||(6,955)||(1,532)|
|Net cash provided by financing activities||260 ||6,832 |
|Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents||18 ||(2)|
|Net increase in cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash and equivalents||$||(1,174)||$||6,781 |
Cash Flows Provided by Operating Activities
Normal operations are funded primarily through operating cash flows and borrowings under our Revolving Credit Facility. In 2020, operating activities provided cash of $5.5 billion, or 3.1 times net earnings, compared to $1.5 billion in 2019. Cash flow provided by operations in 2020 was due to net earnings, an increase in medical claims liabilities from growth and expansions, and an increase in other long-term liabilities related to minimum MLR payables and a delay in employer payroll tax payments related to the COVID-19 extensions to payment deadlines.
Cash flows provided by operations in 2019 was primarily due to net earnings and an increase in medical claims liabilities, primarily resulting from growth in the Health Insurance Marketplace business and the commencement or expansion of the Arkansas, Iowa, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania health plans. Operating cash flows were partially offset by an increase in premium and trade receivables due to the timing of payments from our state customers, as discussed below.
Cash flows from operations in each year can be impacted by the timing of payments we receive from our states. As we have seen historically, states may prepay the following month premium payment, which we record as unearned revenue, or they may delay our premium payment, which we record as a receivable. We typically receive capitation payments monthly; however, the states in which we operate may decide to adjust their payment schedules which could positively or negatively impact our reported cash flows from operating activities in any given period.
| ||Year Ended December 31,|
|(Increase) decrease in premium and trade receivables||$||(52)||$||(1,076)|
|Increase (decrease) in unearned revenue||(528)||(9)|
|Net increase (decrease) in operating cash flow||$||(580)||$||(1,085)|
Cash Flows Used in Investing Activities
Investing activities used cash of $7.0 billion for the year ended December 31, 2020 and $1.5 billion in 2019. Cash flows used in investing activities in 2020 primarily consisted of our acquisitions of WellCare, PANTHERx and Apixio, partially offset by divestiture proceeds. Cash flows used in investing activities in 2020 also consisted of net additions to the investment portfolio of our regulated subsidiaries (including transfers from cash and cash equivalents to long-term investments) and capital expenditures.
We spent $869 million and $730 million in the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, on capital expenditures for system enhancements, market growth, and corporate headquarters expansions.
As of December 31, 2020, our investment portfolio consisted primarily of fixed-income securities with a weighted average duration of 3.3 years. We had unregulated cash and investments of $1.9 billion at December 31, 2020, compared to $7.2 billion at December 31, 2019. Unregulated cash as of December 31, 2019 included the net proceeds from our $7.0 billion senior note issuance in advance of the closing of the WellCare Acquisition. Unregulated cash and investments include private equity investments and company owned life insurance contracts.
Cash flows used in investing activities in 2019 primarily consisted of the net additions to the investment portfolio of our regulated subsidiaries (including transfers from cash and cash equivalents to long-term investments) and capital expenditures.
Cash Flows Provided by Financing Activities
Our financing activities provided cash of $260 million in 2020, compared to providing cash of $6.8 billion in 2019. During 2020, our net financing activities were due to increased borrowings, partially offset by common stock repurchases. During 2019, our net financing activities primarily related to the proceeds from the issuance of $7.0 billion of senior notes in December 2019 in preparation of the WellCare Acquisition.
In connection with the WellCare Acquisition, in January 2020, we completed an exchange offer for $1.2 billion of 5.25% Senior Notes due 2025 and $750 million of 5.375% Senior Notes due 2026 (collectively, the WellCare Notes) issued by WellCare and issued $1.1 billion aggregate principal amount of 5.25% Senior Notes due 2025 and $747 million aggregate principal amount of 5.375% Senior Notes due 2026. Additionally, our wholly owned subsidiary, WellCare Health Plans, Inc., assumed the remaining unexchanged WellCare Notes.
In February 2020, we issued $2.0 billion 3.375% Senior Notes due 2030 (the $2.0 billion 2030 Notes). We used the net proceeds from the $2.0 billion 2030 Notes to redeem all of our outstanding 2024 Notes. We recognized a pre-tax loss on extinguishment of $44 million, including the call premium, the write-off of unamortized debt issuance costs and a loss on the termination of the $1.0 billion interest rate swap associated with the 2024 Notes. We intended to use remaining proceeds to redeem our 2022 Notes. The 2022 Notes were redeemed in the fourth quarter in connection with an additional offering of senior notes as further described below, and we decided to increase liquidity with the remaining proceeds of the $2.0 billion 2030 Notes.
In February 2020, we terminated the interest rate swap agreements associated with the 2022 Notes and the Senior Notes due January 15, 2025, (the 2025 Notes). The interest rate swaps associated with the 2024 Notes were also terminated in connection with the redemption of those notes as discussed above. In total, we terminated three interest rate swap contracts with a notional amount of $2.1 billion.
In May 2020, we completed an exchange offer, whereby we offered to exchange all of the outstanding $2.0 billion 3.375% Senior Notes due February 15, 2030, $1.0 billion 4.75% Senior Notes due 2025, $2.5 billion 4.25% Senior Notes, and $3.5 billion 4.625% Senior Notes due 2029 for identical securities that have been registered under the Securities Act of 1933.
In October 2020, we issued $2.2 billion 3.0% Senior Notes due October 2030 (the $2.2 billion 2030 Notes). We used the net proceeds from the offering, together with cash on hand, to redeem all of the 2022 Notes and the $1.2 billion 5.25% Senior Notes due 2025. We recognized a pre-tax loss on extinguishment of $17 million, including the call premium, and the write-off of unamortized debt issuance costs.
The credit agreement underlying our Revolving Credit Facility and Term Loan Facility contains customary covenants as well as financial covenants, including a minimum fixed charge coverage ratio and a maximum debt-to-EBITDA ratio. Our maximum debt-to-EBITDA ratio under the credit agreement may not exceed 3.5 to 1.0, which may, under certain circumstances and subject to certain elections made by us, be increased for certain periods to 4.0 to 1.0. As of December 31, 2020, we had $97 million of borrowings outstanding under our Revolving Credit Facility, $1.5 billion of borrowings outstanding under our Term Loan Facility, and we were in compliance with all covenants. As of December 31, 2020, there were no limitations on the availability of our Revolving Credit Facility as a result of the debt-to-EBITDA ratio.
We have a $200 million non-recourse construction loan to fund the expansion of our corporate headquarters. In February 2021, we extended the term of the construction loan for one year. The loan bears interest based on the one month LIBOR plus 2.70% and matures in Ap