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S&P upgrades Centene, core insurance subsidiaries

S&P Global Ratings upgraded the long-term issuer credit rating of Centene Corp. to BBB- from BB+ and the long-term financial strength ratings of the company's core insurance subsidiaries to A- from BBB+.

The rating action reflects credit-quality improvements at Centene.

The outlook is stable, reflecting the rating agency's expectation that Centene will successfully defend its market position in its core Medicaid and individual markets and will continue to undertake profitable growth.

S&P Global Ratings also expects Centene to remain committed to its longer-term leverage and capitalization targets, even if the company closes its acquisition of WellCare Health Plans Inc.