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Centene, one of the largest health insurers in the U.S., agreed to pay $33 million to settle allegations that its pharmacy benefits subsidiary overcharged the Washington state Medicaid program, the latest in a string of such settlements.

The deal came after a whistleblower provided information three years ago that Centene failed to disclose accurate pharmacy benefits and services as part of its contract with the state Medicaid program. The state’s Health Care Authority relied on Coordinate Care of Washington, a Centene subsidiary, to manage the Medicaid program.


The Centene unit contracted with pharmacy benefits managers to negotiate prescription drug prices and other pharmacy costs. But the state alleged that the Centene unit overcharged the Medicaid program for pharmacy benefit management services. Specifically, Centene allegedly failed to pass on discounts it received to the state Medicaid program and also inflated dispensing fees.

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