Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Earnings (Loss) Per Share (Details)

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Earnings (Loss) Per Share (Details) (USD $)
In Thousands, except Share data, unless otherwise specified
3 Months Ended 9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2012
Sep. 30, 2011
Sep. 30, 2012
Sep. 30, 2011
Earnings Per Share [Abstract]        
Net earnings (loss) attributable to Centene Corporation $ 3,819 $ 28,987 $ (7,202) $ 81,106
Weighted average number of common shares outstanding (in shares) 51,584,860 50,345,512 51,393,345 50,089,845
Common stock equivalents (as determined by applying the treasury stock method) 2,221,337 2,274,838 0 2,231,061
Weighted average number of common shares and potential dilutive common shares outstanding (in shares) 53,806,197 52,620,350 51,393,345 52,320,906
Basic earnings (loss) per common share (in dollars per share) $ 0.07 $ 0.58 $ (0.14) $ 1.62
Diluted earnings (loss) per common share (in dollars per share) $ 0.07 $ 0.55 $ (0.14) $ 1.55
Anti-dilutive stock options, restricted stock and restricted stock units excluded from the calculation of diluted earnings per common share 44,642 69,359 4,638,757 97,004