Centene, WellCare $17.3B merger clears regulatory requirements

Centene has passed all regulatory hurdles to seal the deal on a merger with WellCare Health Plans worth $17.3 billion.

Centene, a Fortune 100 company, is a multinational healthcare business that provides health plans and services. Tampa-based WellCare offers managed care plans through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Prescription Drug Plans and the individual marketplace. WellCare acquired the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan of Aetna in 2018 as part of Aetna’s $69 billion merger with CVS Health.

“We are pleased to achieve this milestone and look forward to closing our acquisition of WellCare and providing more members and communities access to high-quality healthcare," Michael F. Neidorff, Centene's chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement. "We also look forward to building on our relationships with providers and government partners through the combined company's wide range of affordable health solutions. We have been working diligently on the integration plans to bring our organizations together so that it is seamless for members, providers and employees of both companies."

The merger was approved by shareholders of both Centene and WellCare back in June 2019. All regulatory requirements have been met under the merger agreement as well as approval from the Department of Justice.

As part of the deal, WellCare will divest its Medicaid and Medicare Advantage Plans in Missouri and Medicaid plan in Nebraska. Centene will divest its Medicaid and Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois. The divestitures will occur on or about January 23, 2020, according to the announcement.