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Analysis

17 State Insurance Departments Approve Centene-WellCare Merger

By Jack O'Brien  
   September 20, 2019

The latest approvals keep the deal on pace to close during the first half of 2020.

Centene Corp. and WellCare Health Plans announced the approval of insurance departments from 17 states for the pending $17.3 billion megamerger, according to a press release Thursday.

The list of states that signed off on the deal stretches from Alabama to Washington, including WellCare's home state of Florida.

The merger still requires approval from the Federal Trade Commission, as well as receipt of necessary state regulatory approvals, but the latest development keeps the deal on pace to close during the first half of 2020.

Prior to receiving approval from more than a dozen state insurance departments, the megamerger was approved by a Centene shareholders vote in a late June.

Related: Centene Revenues Grow 30%, Membership Up 2.2M

Centene CEO Michael Neidorff expressed his satisfaction with the state insurance departments' approvals.

"With these approvals, we are building momentum as we move forward with the regulatory approvals process," Neidorff said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing to demonstrate to the remaining state insurance regulators how our combination will enable us to improve quality for recipients, deliver fair compensation for providers and create savings for states."

Both insurers have produced strong financials throughout 2019, though there were a couple hiccups with the deal a few months ago.

In May, the Department of Justice requested additional information related to the deal from both companies, effectively delaying finalization of the deal by 30 days.

Shortly thereafter, Centene fended off rumors that Humana Inc. was interested in purchasing the company.

Related: Humana Swats Down Rumors That It Wants Centene

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Photo credit: KIEV, UKRAINE - Dec 11, 2018: Centene Corporation Insurance company logo seen displayed on smart phone. - Image / Editorial credit: IgorGolovniov / Shutterstock.com


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