Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Contingencies

v3.21.2
Contingencies
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2021
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  
Contingencies Contingencies
Overview

The Company is routinely subjected to legal and regulatory proceedings in the normal course of business. These matters can include, without limitation:

periodic compliance and other reviews and investigations by various federal and state regulatory agencies with respect to requirements applicable to the Company’s business, including, without limitation, those related to payment of out-of-network claims, submissions to CMS for risk adjustment payments or the False Claims Act, submissions to state agencies related to payments or state false claims acts, pre-authorization penalties, timely review of grievances and appeals, timely and accurate payment of claims, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and other federal and state fraud, waste and abuse laws;

litigation arising out of general business activities, such as tax matters, disputes related to healthcare benefits coverage or reimbursement, putative securities class actions and medical malpractice, privacy, real estate, intellectual property and employment-related claims; and

disputes regarding reinsurance arrangements, claims arising out of the acquisition or divestiture of various assets, class actions and claims relating to the performance of contractual and non-contractual obligations to providers, members, employer groups and others, including, but not limited to, the alleged failure to properly pay claims and challenges to the manner in which the Company processes claims, claims related to network adequacy and claims alleging that the Company has engaged in unfair business practices.

Among other things, these matters may result in awards of damages, fines or penalties, which could be substantial, and/or could require changes to the Company’s business. The Company intends to vigorously defend itself against legal and regulatory proceedings to which it is currently a party; however, these proceedings are subject to many uncertainties. In some of the cases pending against the Company, substantial non-economic or punitive damages are being sought.
The Company records reserves and accrues costs for certain legal proceedings and regulatory matters to the extent that it determines an unfavorable outcome is probable and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated. While such reserves and accrued costs reflect the Company’s best estimate of the probable loss for such matters, the recorded amounts may differ materially from the actual amount of any such losses. In some cases, no estimate of the possible loss or range of loss in excess of amounts accrued, if any, can be made because of the inherently unpredictable nature of legal and regulatory proceedings, which may be exacerbated by various factors, including but not limited to, they may involve indeterminate claims for monetary damages or may involve fines, penalties or punitive damages; present novel legal theories or legal uncertainties; involve disputed facts; represent a shift in regulatory policy; involve a large number of parties, claimants or regulatory bodies; are in the early stages of the proceedings; involve a number of separate proceedings and/or a wide range of potential outcomes; or result in a change of business practices.

As of the date of this report, amounts accrued for legal proceedings and regulatory matters were not material, except for the reserve estimate as described below with respect to claims or potential claims involving services provided by Envolve Pharmacy Solutions, Inc. (Envolve), as the Company’s pharmacy benefits manager subsidiary. It is possible that in a particular quarter or annual period the Company’s financial condition, results of operations, cash flow and/or liquidity could be materially adversely affected by an ultimate unfavorable resolution of, or development in, legal and/or regulatory proceedings, including as described below. Except for the proceedings discussed below, the Company believes that the ultimate outcome of any of the regulatory and legal proceedings that are currently pending against it should not have a material adverse effect on financial condition, results of operations, cash flow or liquidity.

California

On October 20, 2015, the Company’s California subsidiary, Health Net of California, Inc. (Health Net California), was named as a defendant in a California taxpayer action filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, captioned as Michael D. Myers v. State Board of Equalization, Dave Jones, Insurance Commissioner of the State of California, Betty T. Yee, Controller of the State of California, et al., Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BS158655. This action is brought under a California statute that permits an individual taxpayer to sue a governmental agency when the taxpayer believes the agency has failed to enforce governing law. Plaintiff contends that Health Net California, a California licensed Health Care Service Plan (HCSP), is an “insurer” for purposes of taxation despite acknowledging it is not an “insurer” under regulatory law. Under California law, “insurers” must pay a gross premiums tax (GPT), calculated as 2.35% on gross premiums. As a licensed HCSP, Health Net California has paid the California Corporate Franchise Tax (CFT), the tax generally paid by California businesses. Plaintiff contends that Health Net California must pay the GPT rather than the CFT. Plaintiff seeks a writ of mandate directing the California taxing agencies to collect the GPT, and seeks an order requiring Health Net California to pay GPT, interest and penalties for a period dating to eight years prior to the October 2015 filing of the complaint. This lawsuit is being coordinated with similar lawsuits filed against other entities (collectively, Related Actions). In March 2018, the Court overruled the Company’s demurrer seeking to dismiss the complaint and denied the Company’s motion to strike allegations seeking retroactive relief. In August 2018, the trial court stayed all the Related Actions pending determination of a writ of mandate by the California Court of Appeals in two of the Related Actions. In March 2019, the California Court of Appeals denied the writ of mandate. The defendants in those Related Actions sought review by the California Supreme Court, which declined to review the matter. Upon the return of the matter to the Los Angeles County Superior Court, motions for summary judgment were scheduled. Health Net California’s motion for summary judgment was heard by the Court in March 2020. In March 2020, the Court granted Health Net California’s motion for summary judgment. In September 2020, the plaintiff appealed the Court’s decision. The Company intends to continue its vigorous defense against these claims; however, this matter is subject to many uncertainties, and an adverse outcome in this matter could potentially have a materially adverse impact on the Company’s financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Beginning in April 2021, several lawsuits have been filed against the Company and its subsidiaries, alleging that the defendants failed to prevent Health Net members' personal and health data from being exposed in connection with a data breach involving Accellion's File Transfer Appliance. The Company denies any wrongdoing and intends to vigorously defend against the claims in these lawsuits. In addition, claims related to these lawsuits are anticipated to be covered in part by the Company’s insurance carrier. As a result, while these matters are subject to many uncertainties, the Company does not believe that an adverse outcome in these matters is likely to have a materially adverse impact on the Company’s financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Ohio, Mississippi and Other States

On March 11, 2021, the State of Ohio filed a civil action against the Company and the Company’s subsidiaries, Buckeye Health Plan Community Solutions, Inc. and Envolve, in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, captioned as Ohio Department of
Medicaid, et al. v. Centene Corporation, et al. The complaint alleged breaches of contract with the Ohio Department of Medicaid relating to the provision of pharmacy benefits management (PBM) services and violations of Ohio law relating to such contracts, including among other things, by (i) seeking payment for services already reimbursed, (ii) not accurately disclosing to the Ohio Department of Medicaid the true cost of the PBM services and (iii) inflating dispensing fees for prescription drugs. The plaintiffs sought an undisclosed sum of money in damages, penalties, and possible termination of the contract with Buckeye Health Plan.

In June 2021, the Company reached no-fault agreements with the Attorney General of Ohio and with the Attorney General and State Auditor of Mississippi to resolve claims and/or allegations made by the states related to services provided by Envolve. The Company will pay $88 million to Ohio and $55 million to Mississippi. As a result of the settlement, the Ohio Attorney General’s litigation against the Company was dismissed. In addition, in September 2021, the Company reached no-fault agreements with the Attorney General of Arkansas and the Attorney General of Illinois to resolve claims related to services provided by Envolve. The Company will pay $15 million to Arkansas and $57 million to Illinois. Additionally, the Company is in discussions with a plaintiff’s group in an effort to bring final resolution to similar concerns in other affected states. Consistent with those discussions, the Company recorded a reserve estimate of $1,250 million in the second quarter of 2021 related to this issue, inclusive of the above settlements. Additional claims, reviews or investigations relating to the Company’s PBM business may be brought by other states, the federal government or shareholder litigants, and there is no guarantee the Company will have the ability to settle such claims with other states within the reserve estimate the Company has recorded and on other acceptable terms, or at all. This matter is subject to many uncertainties, and an adverse outcome in this matter could have an adverse impact on the Company’s financial position, results of operations and cash flows.