- Anthem has agreed to buy WellCare's Medicaid managed care plans in both Nebraska and Missouri, the companies said Thursday in a statement.
- The deal helps Centene and WellCare move forward in their $17 billion merger as some regulators have required they divest their Medicaid business in certain states.
- Anthem is expected to gain nearly 300,000 members, according to state enrollment data in Missouri and Nebraska.
The acquisition allows Anthem to expand its Medicaid managed care footprint in two additional states, picking up about 300,000 members.
Overall, Anthem covers about 6.7 million Medicaid beneficiaries, which represents about 17% of its total membership, according to figures as of Dec. 31.
In Missouri, Anthem is the state's largest insurer, holding the largest market share for all major lines of insurance, including in the individual market, where it commands 48% of the market, according to figures with the state insurance department.
Anthem currently does not offer coverage in Nebraska. Its 14-state commercial footprint now includes California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Anthem sells Medicaid coverage in 21 states plus D.C. Earlier this year, the payer experienced a bump in its medical cost ratio and blamed it on its Medicaid book of business. The company tried to assure investors that its increased medical cost ratio, experienced during the second quarter, was only due to isolated incidents in a few states due to issues with rates they were receiving from the unidentified states.
The Centene-WellCare deal is expected to be complete by the first half of 2020. The deal more than doubles Centene's Medicare membership while also adding to its core business of Medicaid managed care. The companies have secured approval in 19 states and are awaiting on various approvals from both state and federal regulators.