Insurer to Purchase Vertically Integrated Medicare Advantage Plan/Provider

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WellPoint, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, has agreed to buy CareMore for approximately $800 million. WellPoint, which holds the license for Blue Cross in California and for Blue Cross Blue Shield in several other states, is the largest American health insurer in terms of patients covered, with one in nine Americans receiving coverage for their medical care through WellPoint’s affiliated plans. CareMore, based in Downey, California, is a physician owned medical group operating Medicare Advantage plans in California, Arizona and Nevada with the majority of its membership in California.

CareMore’s business model is focused on seniors and it has developed its own delivery system to complement its health plans. With a tight incorporation of employed physicians and other practitioners, 26 self-sufficient care centers clinics and well developed delivery systems, CareMore is considered one of the more vertically integrated Medicare Advantage systems in the country. With the acquisition WellPoint brings a management team on-board with significant and successful experience developing and growing Medicare Advantage business (the CEO of CareMore is one of the co-founders of PacifiCare) and also acquires a delivery system and physician network to significantly expand its MediCare Advantage business. The deal is scheduled to close by the end of 2011 and is subject to certain state and federal regulatory approvals and standard closing conditions.

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