INDIANAPOLIS, April 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP), the nation's largest health benefits company, today announced the acquisition of DeCare Dental, one of the country's largest administrators of dental benefit plans. DeCare, a Minneapolis-based company, manages four million members representing 21,000 group customers. The acquisition of DeCare enhances WellPoint's ability to offer dental products that balance affordability and access, drawing upon DeCare's expertise in dental analytics and operations.
"The acquisition of DeCare builds upon a core focus of WellPoint which is to continually provide our members with innovative and industry-leading products," said Angela F. Braly, president and CEO of WellPoint. "DeCare has clearly emerged as a leader in administering dental benefits. Their unique tools and services and exceptional management team will enhance WellPoint's ability to provide affordable, high-quality dental benefits to our members nationwide."
"DeCare is excited to join a company that has a unique market position of having both national scale and strong local depth," said Michael Walsh, president and CEO of DeCare. "Our employees will be able to serve a much larger population of dental and medical members, executing on our mission to serve the oral health needs of our communities."
Upon completion of the acquisition, WellPoint will become one of the largest providers and administrators of dental benefits in the country with significant growth opportunities nationwide. Both WellPoint and DeCare will continue to service their current clients while both dental organizations are integrated. The combination of WellPoint and DeCare creates even greater opportunities to improve the health of their members by providing innovative tools and health information.
"Research has shown a linkage between poor oral health and serious medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and increased risk of pre-term low birth weight babies," said Dennis Casey, President and CEO of WellPoint's UniCare and Specialty businesses. "An integrated health benefits plan that includes medical and dental coverage provides consumers with important preventative services that focus on overall well-being and good health."
DeCare currently serves 10 dental plans, primarily as a third party administrator. DeCare also operates DeCare Systems Ireland (DSI), which offers custom enterprise software solutions, e-business applications and application performance tuning and is also the first American company to offer dental benefits in Ireland as Vhi DeCare Dental.
Upon the completion of the acquisition, WellPoint's dental company will provide and administer dental benefits to 9 million members and have one of the nation's largest dental PPO networks.
About WellPoint, Inc.
WellPoint's mission is to improve the lives of the people it serves and the health of its communities. WellPoint, Inc. is the largest health benefits company in terms of commercial membership in the United States. Through its nationwide networks, the company delivers a number of leading health benefit solutions through a broad portfolio of integrated health care plans and related services, along with a wide range of specialty products such as life and disability insurance benefits, pharmacy benefit management, dental, vision, behavioral health benefit services, as well as long term care insurance and flexible spending accounts. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, WellPoint is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and serves its members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as Blue Cross Blue Shield in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), Wisconsin; and through UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at www.wellpoint.com.
About DeCare Dental
With nearly 40 years of proven success, the DeCare family of companies is a leading dental benefits management group that oversees more than $1 billion in managed revenues, serving 3.9 million individuals in 21,000 employer groups including Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses, non-profits and government entities in the United States and overseas. Through its affiliates and partners, it is active in all major markets across the United States and has also expanded its operations into Europe. As a company focused on global leadership in oral health care management, DeCare sets the standard for innovation, quality, service and results. For more information on DeCare, visit www.decare.com or call (toll-free) 800-371-6561.
This press release contains certain forward-looking information about WellPoint, Inc. ("WellPoint") that is intended to be covered by the safe harbor for "forward-looking statements" provided by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. Words such as "expect(s)", "feel(s)", "believe(s)", "will", "may", "anticipate(s)" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements include, but are not limited to, financial projections and estimates and their underlying assumptions; statements regarding plans, objectives and expectations with respect to future operations, products and services; and statements regarding future performance. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of WellPoint, that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, the forward-looking information and statements. These risks and uncertainties include: those discussed and identified in public filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") made by WellPoint; trends in health care costs and utilization rates; our ability to secure sufficient premium rate increases; competitor pricing below market trends of increasing costs; increased government regulation of health benefits, managed care and pharmacy benefit management operations; risks and uncertainties regarding the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug benefits program, including potential uncollectability of receivables resulting from processing and/or verifying enrollment (including facilitated enrollment), inadequacy of underwriting assumptions, inability to receive and process information, uncollectability of premium from members, increased pharmaceutical costs, and the underlying seasonality of the business; significant acquisitions or divestitures by major competitors; introduction and utilization of new prescription drugs and technology; a downgrade in our financial strength ratings; litigation and investigations targeted at health benefits companies and our ability to resolve litigation and investigations within estimates; our ability to contract with providers consistent with past practice; other potential uses of cash in the future that present attractive alternatives to share repurchases; our ability to achieve expected synergies and operating efficiencies in the WellChoice, Inc. acquisition within the expected time frames or at all, and to successfully integrate our operations; our ability to meet expectations regarding repurchases of shares of our common stock; future bio-terrorist activity or other potential public health epidemics; and general economic downturns. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements that speak only as of the date hereof. WellPoint does not undertake any obligation to republish revised forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. Readers are also urged to carefully review and consider the various disclosures in WellPoint's various SEC reports, including but not limited to WellPoint's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006 and its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the reporting periods in 2007.
SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.