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WellPoint to Buy CareMore

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 8, 2011

WellPoint, Inc. announced Wednesday that it will buy CareMore, a privately held company that operates Medicare Advantage plans and senior healthcare clinics in three western states.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, The New York Times cited analysts who put the purchase price at around $800 million.

"The Medicare market is particularly significant for WellPoint's growth strategy," Angela F. Braly, chair/president/CEO of WellPoint, said in a media release. "We anticipate that more than one million Baby Boomers will age into Medicare every year between now and 2030 across our 14 Blue states." WellPoint is the nation's largest health insurance company, with 34 million members in its affiliated health plans. The company holds the licenses for BlueCross of California, and for BlueCross BlueShield plans in more than one dozen states.

Cerritos, CA-based CareMore is owned by CCMP, a New York private equity firm. CareMore has about 54,000 members and operates 26 care center clinics in California, Arizona, and Nevada, that specialize in senior care, staffed with physicians, nurse practitioners, medical assistants, podiatrists, physical therapists, nutritionists, psychologists and case managers.

"In the last five years we have worked diligently to create and demonstrate the CareMore model can produce superior clinical and financial results in diverse markets," said Alan Hoops, chairman/CEO of CareMore. "We are excited about the opportunities to combine our capabilities with the market presence nationwide of WellPoint and expand the CareMore model within WellPoint's markets."

The deal is expected to close by end of 2011 and is subject to state regulatory approvals.