Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Comprehensive Earnings (Differences Between Net Earnings And Total Comprehensive Earnings) (Details)

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Comprehensive Earnings (Differences Between Net Earnings And Total Comprehensive Earnings) (Details) (USD $)
In Thousands, unless otherwise specified
3 Months Ended 12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2011
Sep. 30, 2011
Jun. 30, 2011
Mar. 31, 2011
Dec. 31, 2010
Sep. 30, 2010
Jun. 30, 2010
Mar. 31, 2010
Dec. 31, 2011
Dec. 31, 2010
Dec. 31, 2009
Comprehensive Earnings [Abstract]                      
Net earnings $ 30,112 $ 28,987 $ 28,374 $ 23,745 $ 25,399 $ 22,662 $ 22,773 $ 24,002 $ 111,218 $ 94,836 $ 83,671
Change in unrealized gains on investments available for sale securities                 (114) 736 3,944
Reclassification adjustment                 (549) (1,660) 252
Unrealized gain on available for sale securities                 (663) (924) 4,196
Other Comprehensive earnings                 110,555 93,912 87,867
Less: Comprehensive earnings attributable to the noncontrolling interest                 (2,855) 3,435 2,574
Comprehensive earnings attributable to Centene Corporation                 $ 113,410 $ 90,477 $ 85,293