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Wellcare To Buy Health Plans In $2.5 Billion Deal

WellCare sign denoting building
Tampa Tribune
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Tampa-based WellCare Health Plans, a major player in Florida’s Medicaid market, announced a $2.5 billion deal Tuesday that includes buying managed-care plans with hundreds of thousands of Medicaid beneficiaries in Michigan and Illinois.

WellCare will buy Meridian Health Plan of Michigan, Inc., Meridian Health Plan of Illinois, Inc. and the pharmacy-benefit manager MeridianRx, according to a WellCare news release.

The purchase is expected to close by the end of 2018. The Meridian plans had about 508,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in Michigan and 565,000 in Illinois as of May 1.

WellCare said the deal would give it the largest Medicaid market share in the two states.

“Meridian is a well-performing health plan, and WellCare and Meridian share a similar commitment to serving our members through a comprehensive, integrated approach to healthcare,” Ken Burdick, WellCare’s CEO, said in a prepared statement. “This transaction strategically aligns with our focus on government-sponsored health plans, will strengthen our capabilities and growing business, and will meaningfully advance our growth agenda.”

WellCare’s Staywell Health Plan of Florida had more than 626,000 enrollees as of May 1, according to information on the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration website.