America's 24th-largest corporation Centene has agreed to pay Ohio $88 million to settle a lawsuit accusing the health-care giant of making off with millions of dollars meant to help the state's most vulnerable residents.
The unusually rapid surrender by Centene on a lawsuit filed barely three months ago shows the stakes to even a $111 billion company with about 70,000 employees of Ohio's hardline action — especially a freeze on the St. Louis-based outfit's participation in a $20 billion contract to provide managed care services to 3.2 million Medicaid recipients.
The deal is expected to be announced Monday morning at a press conference by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
Centene also has reached a separate $55 million settlement with Mississippi. The company does not admit fault in any of the deals, which are centered on its pharmacy benefit manager subsidiary, Envolve Pharmacy Solutions.
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Centene is the subject of similar investigations in other states. Authorities in Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, New Mexico and several other states are looking into filing legal action against the conglomerate. America's largest managed-care provider provides services to some 25 million across the country.
Centene has set aside another $1.1 billion for the other states, many of whom are represented by the same Mississippi law firm as Ohio, Liston & Deas and Cohen Milstein.
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The defendants in the Ohio suit are Centene and two wholly owned subsidiaries: Envolve Pharmacy Solutions and Buckeye Community Health Plan, which has provided managed-care services since 2004 for Ohio's Medicaid program. Also involved is another offshoot of Centene, Health Net Pharmacy Solutions.
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