Anthem, WellPoint complete merger, become nation's largest health insurance company

Wednesday, December 1st 2004, 8:52 am
By: News On 6

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Just hours after winning approval from Georgia, Anthem Inc. and WellPoint Health Networks Inc. announced the completion of a $16.5 billion merger creating the nation's largest health insurance company.

Georgia was the last state to sign off on the merger. The state's insurance commissioner withheld his approval until the companies pledged $126.5 million to improve rural health care in that state. WellPoint Health Networks Inc. owned Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia.

California's insurance commissioner also had rejected the agreement until the companies in early November raised to a total of $265 million their pledge to boost health care in that state.

No other states have sought such concessions, said Larry Glasscock, Wellpoint's new chief executive, on Tuesday.

The company will call itself Wellpoint Inc. and be based in Anthem's hometown of Indianapolis. It will cover about 28 million people in 13 states, about a quarter of whom live in California.