Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies

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Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2013
Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Principles of Consolidation
 
The accompanying consolidated financial statements include the accounts of Centene Corporation and all majority owned subsidiaries and subsidiaries over which the Company exercises the power and control to direct activities significantly impacting financial performance. All material intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated. The assets, liabilities and results of operations of Kentucky Spirit Health Plan are classified as discontinued operations for all periods presented.

Certain amounts in the consolidated financial statements have been reclassified to conform to the 2013 presentation. These reclassifications have no effect on net earnings or stockholders' equity as previously reported.

Use of Estimates
 
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States, or GAAP, requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Future events and their effects cannot be predicted with certainty; accordingly, the accounting estimates require the exercise of judgment. The accounting estimates used in the preparation of the consolidated financial statements will change as new events occur, as more experience is acquired, as additional information is obtained and as the operating environment changes. The Company evaluates and updates its assumptions and estimates on an ongoing basis and may employ outside experts to assist in our evaluation, as considered necessary. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
 
Cash and Cash Equivalents
 
Investments with original maturities of three months or less are considered to be cash equivalents. Cash equivalents consist of money market funds and bank certificates of deposit and savings accounts.

The Company maintains amounts on deposit with various financial institutions, which may exceed federally insured limits. However, management periodically evaluates the credit-worthiness of those institutions, and the Company has not experienced any losses on such deposits.

Investments
 
Short term investments include securities with maturities greater than three months to one year. Long term investments include securities with maturities greater than one year.
 
Short term and long term investments are generally classified as available for sale and are carried at fair value. Certain equity investments are recorded using the cost or equity method. Unrealized gains and losses on investments available for sale are excluded from earnings and reported in accumulated other comprehensive income, a separate component of stockholders' equity, net of income tax effects. Premiums and discounts are amortized or accreted over the life of the related security using the effective interest method. The Company monitors the difference between the cost and fair value of investments. Investments that experience a decline in value that is judged to be other than temporary are written down to fair value and a realized loss is recorded in investment and other income. To calculate realized gains and losses on the sale of investments, the Company uses the specific amortized cost of each investment sold. Realized gains and losses are recorded in investment and other income.
 
The Company uses the equity method to account for certain of its investment in entities that it does not control and for which it does not have the ability to exercise significant influence over operating and financial policies. These investments are recorded at the lower of their cost or fair value.

Restricted Deposits
 
Restricted deposits consist of investments required by various state statutes to be deposited or pledged to state agencies. These investments are classified as long term, regardless of the contractual maturity date, due to the nature of the states' requirements. The Company is required to annually adjust the amount of the deposit pledged to certain states.

Fair Value Measurements

In the normal course of business, the Company invests in various financial assets and incurs various financial liabilities. Fair values are disclosed for all financial instruments, whether or not such values are recognized in the Consolidated Balance Sheets. Management obtains quoted market prices and other observable inputs for these disclosures. The carrying amounts reported in the Consolidated Balance Sheets for cash and cash equivalents, premium and related receivables, unearned revenue, accounts payable and accrued expenses, and certain other current liabilities are carried at cost, which approximates fair value because of their short term nature.

The following methods and assumptions were used to estimate the fair value of each financial instrument:
Available for sale investments and restricted deposits: The carrying amount is stated at fair value, based on quoted market prices, where available. For securities not actively traded, fair values were estimated using values obtained from independent pricing services or quoted market prices of comparable instruments.
Senior unsecured notes: Estimated based on third-party quoted market prices for the same or similar issues.
Variable rate debt: The carrying amount of our floating rate debt approximates fair value since the interest rates adjust based on market rate adjustments.
Interest rate swap: Estimated based on third-party market prices based on the forward 3-month LIBOR curve.
 
Property, Software and Equipment
 
Property, software and equipment are stated at cost less accumulated depreciation. Capitalized software includes certain costs incurred in the development of internal-use software, including external direct costs of materials and services and payroll costs of employees devoted to specific software development. Depreciation is calculated principally by the straight-line method over estimated useful lives. Leasehold improvements are depreciated using the straight-line method over the shorter of the expected useful life or the remaining term of the lease. Property, software and equipment are depreciated over the following periods:
Fixed Asset
 
Depreciation Period
Buildings and land improvements
 
5 - 40 years
Computer hardware and software
 
2 - 7 years
Furniture and equipment
 
3 - 10 years
Leasehold improvements
 
1 - 20 years


The carrying amounts of all long-lived assets are evaluated to determine if adjustment to the depreciation and amortization period or to the unamortized balance is warranted. Such evaluation is based principally on the expected utilization of the long-lived assets.

The Company retains fully depreciated assets in property and accumulated depreciation accounts until it removes them from service. In the case of sale, retirement, or disposal, the asset cost and related accumulated depreciation balance is removed from the respective account, and the resulting net amount, less any proceeds, is included as a component of earnings from operations in the consolidated statements of operations.

Goodwill and Intangible Assets
 
Intangible assets represent assets acquired in purchase transactions and consist primarily of customer relationships, purchased contract rights, provider contracts, trade names and goodwill. Intangible assets are amortized using the straight-line method over the following periods:
Intangible Asset
 
Amortization Period
Purchased contract rights
 
5 - 15 years
Provider contracts
 
4 - 15 years
Customer relationships
 
5 - 15 years
Trade names
 
7 - 20 years

 
The Company tests for impairment of intangible assets as well as long-lived assets whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value of an asset or asset group (hereinafter referred to as “asset group”) may not be recoverable by comparing the sum of the estimated undiscounted future cash flows expected to result from use of the asset group and its eventual disposition to the carrying value. Such factors include, but are not limited to, significant changes in membership, state funding, state contracts and provider networks and contracts. If the sum of the estimated undiscounted future cash flows is less than the carrying value, an impairment determination is required. The amount of impairment is calculated by subtracting the fair value of the asset group from the carrying value of the asset group. An impairment charge, if any, is recognized within earnings from operations.

The Company tests goodwill for impairment using a fair value approach. The Company is required to test for impairment at least annually, absent a triggering event including a significant decline in operating performance that would require an impairment assessment. Absent any impairment indicators, the Company performs its goodwill impairment testing during the fourth quarter of each year. The Company recognizes an impairment charge for any amount by which the carrying amount of goodwill exceeds its implied fair value.

The Company first assesses qualitative factors to determine whether it is necessary to perform the two-step quantitative goodwill impairment test. The Company does not calculate the fair value of a reporting unit unless it determines, based on a qualitative assessment, that it is more likely than not that its fair value is less than its carrying amount.

If the two-step quantitative test is deemed necessary, the Company uses discounted cash flows to establish the fair value as of the testing date. The discounted cash flow approach includes many assumptions related to future growth rates, discount factors, future tax rates, etc. Changes in economic and operating conditions impacting these assumptions could result in goodwill impairment in future periods. When available and as appropriate, the Company uses comparative market multiples to corroborate discounted cash flow results.
 
Medical Claims Liability
 
Medical claims liability includes claims reported but not yet paid, or inventory, estimates for claims incurred but not reported, or IBNR, and estimates for the costs necessary to process unpaid claims at the end of each period.  The Company estimates its medical claims liability using actuarial methods that are commonly used by health insurance actuaries and meet Actuarial Standards of Practice.  These actuarial methods consider factors such as historical data for payment patterns, cost trends, product mix, seasonality, utilization of healthcare services and other relevant factors.  

Actuarial Standards of Practice generally require that the medical claims liability estimates be adequate to cover obligations under moderately adverse conditions.  Moderately adverse conditions are situations in which the actual claims are expected to be higher than the otherwise estimated value of such claims at the time of estimate.  In many situations, the claims amounts ultimately settled will be different than the estimate that satisfies the Actuarial Standards of Practice. The Company includes in its IBNR an estimate for medical claims liability under moderately adverse conditions which represents the risk of adverse deviation of the estimates in its actuarial method of reserving.

The Company uses its judgment to determine the assumptions to be used in the calculation of the required estimates. The assumptions it considers when estimating IBNR include, without limitation, claims receipt and payment experience (and variations in that experience), changes in membership, provider billing practices, healthcare service utilization trends, cost trends, product mix, seasonality, prior authorization of medical services, benefit changes, known outbreaks of disease or increased incidence of illness such as influenza, provider contract changes, changes to fee schedules, and the incidence of high dollar or catastrophic claims.
    
The Company's development of the medical claims liability estimate is a continuous process which it monitors and refines on a monthly basis as additional claims receipts and payment information becomes available. As more complete claims information becomes available, the Company adjusts the amount of the estimates, and includes the changes in estimates in medical costs in the period in which the changes are identified. In every reporting period, the operating results include the effects of more completely developed medical claims liability estimates associated with previously reported periods. The Company consistently applies its reserving methodology from period to period. As additional information becomes known, it adjusts the actuarial model accordingly to establish medical claims liability estimates.

 The Company periodically reviews actual and anticipated experience compared to the assumptions used to establish medical costs. The Company establishes premium deficiency reserves if actual and anticipated experience indicates that existing policy liabilities together with the present value of future gross premiums will not be sufficient to cover the present value of future benefits, settlement and maintenance costs.    

Revenue Recognition
 
The Company's health plans generate revenues primarily from premiums received from the states in which it operates health plans. The Company receives a fixed premium per member per month pursuant to its state contracts. The Company generally receives premium payments during the month it provides services and recognizes premium revenue during the period in which it is obligated to provide services to its members. In some instances, the Company's base premiums are subject to an adjustment, or risk score, based on the acuity of its membership. Generally, the risk score is determined by the State analyzing submissions of processed claims data to determine the acuity of the Company's membership relative to the entire state's Medicaid membership. Some states enact premium taxes, similar assessments and provider pass-through payments, collectively premium taxes, and these taxes are recorded as a separate component of both revenues and operating expenses. Some contracts allow for additional premiums related to certain supplemental services provided such as maternity deliveries.

Revenues are recorded based on membership and eligibility data provided by the states, which is adjusted on a monthly basis by the states for retroactive additions or deletions to membership data. These eligibility adjustments are estimated monthly and subsequent adjustments are made in the period known. We continuously review and update those estimates as new information becomes available.  It is possible that new information could require us to make additional adjustments, which could be significant, to these estimates.

The Company's specialty companies generate revenues under contracts with state programs, individuals, healthcare organizations and other commercial organizations, as well as from the Company's own subsidiaries. Revenues are recognized when the related services are provided or as ratably earned over the covered period of service.

Premium and Related Receivables and Unearned Revenue

Premium and service revenues collected in advance are recorded as unearned revenue. For performance-based contracts the Company does not recognize revenue subject to refund until data is sufficient to measure performance. Premiums and service revenues due to the Company are recorded as premium and related receivables and are recorded net of an allowance based on historical trends and management's judgment on the collectibility of these accounts. As the Company generally receives payments during the month in which services are provided, the allowance is typically not significant in comparison to total revenues and does not have a material impact on the presentation of the financial condition or results of operations. Activity in the allowance for uncollectible accounts for the years ended December 31, is summarized below:
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
Allowances, beginning of year
781

 
639

 
17

Amounts charged to expense
3,138

 
1,350

 
865

Write-offs of uncollectible receivables
(2,801
)
 
(1,208
)
 
(243
)
Allowances, end of year
1,118

 
781

 
639



Significant Customers
 
Centene receives the majority of its revenues under contracts or subcontracts with state Medicaid managed care programs. The current contracts expire on various dates between March 31, 2014 and October 31, 2018. States whose aggregate annual contract value exceeded 10% of annual revenues and the respective percentage of the Company's total revenues for the years ended December 31, are as follows:
2013
 
2012
 
2011
Texas
37%
 
Texas
40%
 
Georgia
15%


 


 
Ohio
12%


 


 
Texas
21%


Reinsurance
 
Centene's subsidiaries report reinsurance premiums as medical costs, while related reinsurance recoveries are reported as deductions from medical costs. The Company limits its risk of certain catastrophic losses by maintaining high deductible reinsurance coverage.
 
Other Income (Expense)
 
Other income (expense) consists principally of investment income, interest expense and equity method earnings from investments. Investment income is derived from the Company's cash, cash equivalents, restricted deposits and investments. Interest expense relates to borrowings under the senior notes, interest rate swap, credit facilities, interest on capital leases and credit facility fees.

Income Taxes
 
Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recorded for the future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. The effect on deferred tax assets and liabilities of a change in tax law or tax rates is recognized in income in the period that includes the enactment date.

Valuation allowances are provided when it is considered more likely than not that deferred tax assets will not be realized. In determining if a deductible temporary difference or net operating loss can be realized, the Company considers future reversals of existing taxable temporary differences, future taxable income, taxable income in prior carryback periods and tax planning strategies.
 
Contingencies

The Company accrues for loss contingencies associated with outstanding litigation, claims and assessments for which it has determined it is probable that a loss contingency exists and the amount of loss can be reasonably estimated. The Company expenses professional fees associated with litigation claims and assessments as incurred.

Stock Based Compensation
 
The fair value of the Company's employee share options and similar instruments are estimated using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model. That cost is recognized over the period during which an employee is required to provide service in exchange for the award. Excess tax benefits related to stock compensation are presented as a cash inflow from financing activities.
 
Recent Accounting Pronouncements

In 2011, the Financial Accounting Standards Board issued accounting guidance for the health insurance industry's annual fees mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The fees will be imposed beginning in 2014 based on the Company's share of the industry's net premiums written during the preceding calendar year. In addition, these fees will not be tax deductible. Under the guidance, the liability for the fee will be estimated and recorded in full each year beginning in 2014 when health insurance is first provided. A corresponding deferred cost will be recorded and amortized to operating expense over the calendar year.