December 19, 2008 / 12:43 PM / in 11 years

UPDATE 1-Centene gives 2009 earnings view below estimates

* 2009 earnings view below estimates

* Reaffirms 2008 view

Dec 19 (Reuters) - Health insurer Centene Corp (CNC.N) forecast 2009 earnings below analysts’ estimates and reiterated its outlook for 2008.

The company, expects 2009 earnings of $1.82 to $1.94 per share, on revenue of $3.65 billion to $3.78 billion, below analysts’ expectations of a profit of $2.07 a share, on revenue of $3.94 billion.

The faltering economy has brought many challenges for health insurers, including pressure on enrollment as employers cut staffing, investment losses and worries about their balance sheets.

On Dec. 17, the No. 3 U.S. health insurer Aetna Inc AET.N said it would cut about 3 percent of its workforce to realign administrative expenses with its 2009 growth outlook.

Centene shares, which have lost more than a third of their value so far this year, closed at $17.74 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Vidya L Nathan in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy)

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