National health insurer Centene Corp. said on Wednesday that it will build a new regional headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., with plans to add more than 6,000 jobs in the city over time.
Centene, a growing Medicaid and Affordable Care Act marketplace insurer, will begin construction on a new campus, which will serve as its East Coast headquarters, in August as part of a $1 billion investment in the Charlotte community.
The company, which sells ACA plans under the brand Ambetter, said it expects the first construction phase to be completed in the second half of 2022 and accommodate 3,000 employees. The second phase, making room for another 3,000 workers, would begin in 2024.
Centene will maintain its corporate headquarters in St. Louis. In 2019, it also established a West Coast campus in Sacramento, Calif.
"Charlotte has great talent, excellent infrastructure and a real commitment to sustainable development," Centene President and CEO Michael Neidorff said in a statement. "We are pleased to expand our partnership with the city of Charlotte, the county of Mecklenburg, and the state of North Carolina. We look forward to many years of collective growth and innovation."
Centene said it chose Charlotte after "a comprehensive evaluation process." The insurer already has operations in North Carolina, where it now employs about 600. The insurer began selling ACA marketplace plans in the state in January 2019.
In October that year, Centene's joint venture with the North Carolina Medical Society and the North Carolina Community Health Center Association—Carolina Complete Health—won a three-year contract to serve N.C. Medicaid beneficiaries beginning in February 2020.
Centene said it committed to hiring at least 3,200 people over the next 12 years as part of its agreement with local officials, but the company plans to hit that goal sooner.
"Centene's investment here is great for the Charlotte area and our whole state," North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said. "Centene knows that North Carolina has a resilient economy, ready workforce, livable communities and a host of other assets that make our state a leading destination for forward-thinking businesses."
Centene reported $1.3 billion in net income on $74.6 billion in revenue in 2019. It acquired rival health insurer WellCare Health Plans in January 2020 for about $19.6 billion.