Under CEO Michael Neidorff, Centene Just Keeps Growing

Under CEO Michael Neidorff, Centene is now the largest Medicaid managed care organization in the U.S., a national leader in managed long-term services and supports, and the country’s number one insurer on the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace.

And the St. Louis-based company just keeps growing.

Acquisitions and organic growth resulted in better-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter: $1.38 per share excluding non-recurring items, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.33 per share and markedly above $0.97 per share a year ago.

In 2018, Centene added 1.8 million members, surpassing the 14 million mark, and grew revenues by 24% to $60.1 billion and adjusted EPS by 41% to $7.08.

“2018 was another year of strong growth and accomplishment for Centene,” Neidorff said in the company’s Feb. 5 earnings call.

Organic growth included entering three new exchange markets and expanding in six existing Ambetter markets. Year-over-year, Centene’s exchange membership rose by roughly 500,000 members, or 52%, to 1.5 million — ahead of management’s initial expectations.

In Medicaid, the company successfully reprocured contracts in Arizona, Florida, Washington and Kansas and won two new Medicaid contracts in New Mexico and Iowa. Moreover, Centene’s medical management efforts and network initiatives continue to gain traction.

The company has also been growing through acquisitions, last year closing the purchase of Fidelis, the only statewide health plan in all 62 counties of New York, Neidorff said. Centene also completed the acquisition of MHS Services, a national provider in healthcare and staffing to correctional systems and other government agencies, as well as the acquisition of Community Medical Group, an at-risk primary care provider in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Centene also increased its ownership to 80% in Interpreta, a technology company focused on clinical and genomic data as well as real-time analytics, made an investment in RxAdvance, a technology-based pharmacy benefits management platform, and purchased a controlling stake in University Hospital of Torreon, in Madrid.

“Our strong 2018 results reaffirmed our growth momentum for 2019 and beyond,” Neidorff said. “Our pipeline of growth opportunities is robust and we remain focused on margin expansion.”

What distinguishes Neidorff is the consistent business strategy he has taken at the helm of Centene for more than 20 years, according to Money Inc.

He believes in improving the health of communities by providing high-quality care at reasonable costs,” Money Inc. writes. “His beliefs are also reflected in his personal life as he prefers to make a change in his community rather than simply standing on the sidelines hoping things will improve.”

He’s No. 66 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies.

Michael Neidorff, Centene

Headquarters: St. Louis, MO

Age: 76

Education:  Trinity University (B.S.) St. Francis University (M.A)

First joined company: 1996

Prior to joining Centene: Coventry

Named CEO: 1996