Centene may buy Medicare Advantage plans rivals divest

The current consolidation craze in the health insurance industry may present a buying opportunity for Centene Corp. The Clayton-based managed care provider said Tuesday it will consider purchasing the Medicare Advantage plans rival health insurers are likely to divest during planned mergers.

Anthem Inc. is seeking to acquire Cigna Corp. for about $54.2 billion, and Aetna Inc. is buying Humana Inc. for $37 billion. Regulators have suggested both deals could force the companies to sell some Medicare Advantage plans, which are plans offered by private insurers but paid for by the government.

Centene currently runs Medicare Advantage plans in nine states, but it will expand that once its merger with Health Net Inc. is completed.

Centene on Tuesday also posted increased profits of $88 million, or 72 cents per share, in the second quarter ended June 30. That beat analyst expectations of 69 cents per share and was up from $49 million, or 41 cents per share, the prior year.

Read more from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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