Centene lowers 2020 profit forecast, shares fall

March 3 (Reuters) - U.S. health insurer Centene Corp lowered the outlook for adjusted annual earnings on Tuesday, sending its shares down about 3% after the bell.

The company now expects adjusted profit of between $4.56 and $4.76 per share for fiscal 2020, below estimates of $4.82, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Centene had previously forecast adjusted annual earnings of $4.64 to $4.84 per share.

The company said it expects a hit of 17 cents per share to its annual adjusted profit, due to a potential Medicaid rate cut in the state of New York.

Centene, which closed its acquisition of smaller rival WellCare Health Plans in January, said it expects sales for the year to be between $104.8 billion and $105.6 billion. Analysts were expecting sales of $106.8 billion.

The company expects its health benefits ratio, the amount it spends on medical claims compared with its income from premiums, for the year to be about 85.9% to 86.3%. Analysts were expecting a ratio of 86.58%.

Centene’s shares were down 2.5% at $54.03 in after-market trading. (Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)