* First-quarter profit/share $0.42 vs est $0.37
* Revenue $2.54 bln vs est $2.46 billion
* Raises 2013 revenue forecast to $10.1 bln to $10.4 bln
* Reiterates full-year profit outlook
April 23 Health insurer Centene Corp
reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as it added
more states under its Medicaid contracts and expanded its
coverage in existing ones.
The company raised its full-year forecast for premium and
service revenue to $10.1 billion to $10.4 billion, and
reiterated its profit forecast of $2.60 to $2.90 per share.
"We believe we are well positioned for profitable growth in
2014 and beyond," CEO Michael Neidorff said in a statement.
Net income fell marginally to $23 million, or 42 cents per
share, in the first quarter from $24 million, or 45 cents per
share, a year earlier.
Premium and service revenue rose 53 percent to $2.54
billion, mainly driven by the expansion of contracts in Texas,
Mississippi and Louisiana, and contract additions in Kansas,
Missouri and Washington, the company said.
Analysts were expecting a profit of 37 cents per share, on
revenue of $2.46 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Health benefits ratio, a measure of medical expenses
expressed as a percentage of premium revenue, rose to 90.4
percent from 88.2 percent a year earlier.
The increase in medical expenses reflected a higher level of
flu costs during the first quarter, and a higher level of
medical costs in new business, the company said.
Insurers take a hit from the flu because of an increase in
claims related to visits to doctors and hospitals.
Centene was hit by high costs at its Medicaid contracts in
Texas and Kentucky last year as higher utilization of its
services in the states ate into profit.
The insurer intends to exit Kentucky from July 5.
Several other health insurers providing Medicaid services in
the two states had also experienced high medical costs.
Shares of the St. Louis, Missouri-based Centene closed at
$45.35 on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.