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South Carolina Insurance Commissioner Approves WellCare's Acquisition Of UnitedHealth Of South Carolina's Medicaid Business

On January 4, South Carolina Interim Director of Insurance Raymond G. Farmer approved WellCare Health Plans proposed acquisition of UnitedHealthcare of South Carolina’s Medicaid business. The transaction, first announced in October of 2012, provides WellCare with 65,000 Medicaid members in the state, and is another sign of increasing consolidation in the Medicaid HMO market nationwide. WellCare has over 2.5 million Medicare and Medicaid members across the country, but was not previously doing business in South Carolina.

In approving WellCare’s change of control application for the South Carolina Medicaid business, Director Farmer noted that under South Carolina law an applicant must demonstrate that the proposed change in control will not “substantially lessen competition in insurance in the State or tend to create a monopoly.” Given that WellCare is a new entrant into the South Carolina Medicaid market, its acquisition of UnitedHealth was, not surprisingly, held not to present any significant competitive concerns, and the Director approved the change of control. The parties subsequently closed the deal on February 4. 

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