Centene finalizes WellCare merger after clearing final regulatory hurdles

Editors note: This story has been updated to reflect the fact the deal has been completed. 

Centene and WellCare finalized their merger this week after announcing they cleared the final regulatory hurdles for the deal. 

Earlier this week, executives at Centene Corporation and WellCare Health Plans announced that they have cleared a review from the Department of Justice. The deal was closed on Jan. 23.

As part of the deal, WellCare will sell off its Medicare Advantage and Medicaid plans in Missouri and its Medicaid plan in Nebraska, and Centene will divest its Illinois Medicaid and Medicare Advantage plans.

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"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 Neidorff, Centene's 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," Neidorff said.

The $17 billion merger was first announced in March 2019, and will lead to the creation of one of the country's largest sponsors of government insurance plans. Groups such as the American Hospital Association expressed concern that allowing the deal to go through could significantly harm competition in the Medicare Advantage market.