Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Earnings Per Share (Details)

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Earnings Per Share (Details) - USD ($)
$ / shares in Units, shares in Thousands, $ in Millions
3 Months Ended 12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2019
Sep. 30, 2019
Jun. 30, 2019
Mar. 31, 2019
Dec. 31, 2018
Sep. 30, 2018
Jun. 30, 2018
Mar. 31, 2018
Dec. 31, 2019
Dec. 31, 2018
Dec. 31, 2017
Earnings attributable to Centene Corporation:                      
Earnings attributable to Centene Corporation $ 209 $ 95 $ 495 $ 522 $ 241 $ 19 $ 300 $ 340 $ 1,321 $ 900 $ 828
Shares used in computing per share amounts:                      
Weighted average number of common shares outstanding (in shares)                 413,487 390,248 344,853
Common stock equivalents (as determined by applying the treasury stock method) (in shares)                 6,922 8,258 8,551
Weighted average number of common shares and potential dilutive common shares outstanding (in shares)                 420,409 398,506 353,404
Net earnings per common share attributable to Centene Corporation:                      
Basic earnings per common share (in usd per share) $ 0.50 $ 0.23 $ 1.20 $ 1.26 $ 0.59 $ 0.05 $ 0.77 $ 0.98 $ 3.19 $ 2.31 $ 2.40
Diluted earnings per common share (in usd per share) $ 0.49 $ 0.23 $ 1.18 $ 1.24 $ 0.57 $ 0.05 $ 0.75 $ 0.96 $ 3.14 $ 2.26 $ 2.34
Anti-dilutive stock options, restricted stock and restricted stock units excluded from the calculation of diluted earnings per common share (in shares)                 1,048 58 106