Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Quarterly Selected Financial Information (Details)

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Quarterly Selected Financial Information (Details) (USD $)
In Thousands, except Share data, 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
Quarterly Selected Financial Information [Abstract]                      
Total revenues $ 1,507,176 $ 1,302,035 $ 1,315,014 $ 1,216,357 $ 1,180,969 $ 1,121,861 $ 1,076,772 $ 1,068,721 $ 5,340,582 $ 4,448,323 $ 4,102,864
Earnings from continuing operations, net of income tax expense 30,112 28,987 28,374 23,745 25,464 22,402 22,999 20,082 111,218 90,947 86,093
Discontinued operations, net of income tax expense (benefit)         (65) 260 (226) 3,920   3,889 (2,422)
Net earnings attributable to Centene Corporation $ 30,112 $ 28,987 $ 28,374 $ 23,745 $ 25,399 $ 22,662 $ 22,773 $ 24,002 $ 111,218 $ 94,836 $ 83,671
Basic: Continued operations $ 0.60 $ 0.58 $ 0.57 $ 0.48 $ 0.52 $ 0.46 $ 0.46 $ 0.43 $ 2.22 $ 1.87 $ 2.00
Basic: Discontinued operations               $ 0.08   $ 0.08 $ (0.06)
Basic earnings per common share $ 0.60 $ 0.58 $ 0.57 $ 0.48 $ 0.52 $ 0.46 $ 0.46 $ 0.51 $ 2.22 $ 1.95 $ 1.94
Diluted: Continued operations $ 0.57 $ 0.55 $ 0.54 $ 0.46 $ 0.50 $ 0.44 $ 0.45 $ 0.41 $ 2.12 $ 1.80 $ 1.94
Diluted: Discontinued operations               $ 0.08   $ 0.08 $ (0.05)
Diluted earnings per common share $ 0.57 $ 0.55 $ 0.54 $ 0.46 $ 0.50 $ 0.44 $ 0.45 $ 0.49 $ 2.12 $ 1.88 $ 1.89
Health Benefits Ratio 85.90% 85.00% 84.80% 84.90% 85.00% 85.90% 85.40% 85.70%      
General & Administrative Expense Ratio 11.00% 11.30% 11.20% 12.00% 11.30% 10.60% 11.10% 11.70%      
Period end at-risk membership 1,816,000 1,615,700 1,580,500 1,542,500 1,533,500 1,473,800 1,534,600 1,471,300