Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies

Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2011
Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies

2. 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 University Health Plans, Inc. are classified as discontinued operations for all periods presented.

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.


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 commercial paper, money market funds, repurchase agreements 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.




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.


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.




Recent Accounting Pronouncements

In September 2011, the Financial Accounting Standards Board issued an Accounting Standards Update (ASU), which simplifies how an entity is required to test goodwill for impairment. The ASU allows an entity to first assess qualitative factors to determine whether it is necessary to perform the two-step quantitative goodwill impairment test. Under the ASU, an entity is not required to calculate the fair value of a reporting unit unless the entity determines, based on a qualitative assessment, that it is more likely than not that its fair value is less than its carrying amount. The amendments in the ASU are effective for annual and interim goodwill impairment tests performed for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2011. Early adoption is permitted. The Company elected to adopt this guidance in the current fiscal year.