Centene, the nation’s largest provider of individual coverage under the Affordable Care Act, is forecasting a profitable 2019 and announced a stock split for shareholders, the fast-growing health insurer said Thursday.
Centene ended its third quarter with 1.53 million ACA marketplace members and is expected to provide forecasts on future growth in a meeting with analysts and investors Friday morning in New York. Centene has successfully managed the costs of individuals signing up for Obamacare over the last several years even as insurers like Aetna, Anthem, UnitedHealth Group and Humana have scaled back their offerings or left the business altogether.
Centene is offering ACA individual coverage in 20 states for 2019, expanding into new states and in new areas where it already sells ACA-compliant individual coverage. This year, Centene entered Kansas, Missouri and Nevada and expanded in six other states where it already sells individual ACA policies, including markets Anthem, Aetna and UnitedHealth departed.
Centene also has contracts with multiple states to provide Medicaid coverage to poor Americans and has grown rapidly offering such benefits in states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA. That has helped the company’s sales and stock price climb in recent years to unprecedented levels.
Centene is now rewarding investors who are holders of the company’s stock. “The Board of Directors declared a two-for-one split of Centene’s common stock in the form of a 100% stock dividend that is expected to be effective in the first quarter of 2019,” Centene said.