What’s behind Centene’s upcoming 2,000 layoffs?

Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 6:17 PM CDT
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CLAYTON, Mo. -- Centene, a Fortune 500 company with offices in Clayton, has confirmed it will cut 2,000 positions across the company next week.

On Tuesday, a company spokesperson said the layoffs were part of some restructuring within the company. The company sent a statement to First Alert 4 that said:

“Centene is committed to improving the health and health care of the members we serve. We are investing to deliver value for our customers now and into the future, both by leveraging our size and scale and by rightsizing our cost structure. We routinely assess our workforce to ensure we have the talent and expertise necessary to support our members and the evolving needs of our business. Our decision was not made lightly and impacts approximately 2,000 employees, just over 3% of our workforce. Centene will support impacted employees with severance packages and outplacement services, consistent with our standard approach.”

The company has not specified whether the cuts will impact the St. Louis area directly, or what kinds of positions may be laid off.

Jerome Katz, a business professor at Saint Louis University, said the company has been adjusting in the months following the pandemic and dealing with regulatory changes to Medicare and Medicaid. Centene handles enrollment for healthcare coverage through those plans and through the Affordable Care Act.

“A lot of states have redrawn Medicaid rules. That’s meant millions of people on Medicaid have been thrown out. All those purges mean Centene is losing customers,” Katz explained.

He said the company has also been selling off ancillary companies and refocusing its efforts on improving service quality for those plans.

“They’ve sold off businesses that are not central to what they do,” Katz said.

The layoffs at Centene will begin on October 2.