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Insurer WellPoint completes CareMore purchase

Mon, 08/22/2011 - 7:45am
The Associated Press

Health insurer WellPoint Inc. said Monday it completed its previously announced acquisition of Medicare Advantage plan provider CareMore Health Group. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CareMore, based in Cerritos, Calif., provides coverage and coordinated care for about 54,000 people in California, Arizona and Nevada. Most of its customers have several chronic conditions, and the company helps manage and coordinate care for patients who take many prescriptions and see several specialists. It runs 26 clinics staffed with doctors, physical therapists and case managers, among other health care professionals.

WellPoint, based in Indianapolis, runs Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in 14 states and is the largest health insurer based on membership. It has about 1.3 million Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplement customers.

Medicare Advantage plans are privately run versions of the government's Medicare program, which provides health coverage for the elderly and disabled. Subsidized by the government, the plans offer basic Medicare coverage topped with extras like vision or dental coverage or premiums lower than standard Medicare rates.

WellPoint officials said in June, when the deal was announced, that the Medicare market is significant to its growth strategy, with millions of baby boomers becoming eligible for the coverage over the next couple decades. WellPoint expects the deal to add to its earnings starting in the second year after its completion.

WellPoint shares climbed 39 cents to $58.48 in morning trading, while broader indexes climbed about 1 percent.

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