More on Mergers & Acquisitions

WellCare to acquire Care1st Health Plan Arizona in $157 million deal

Deal will be funded with available cash, and is due to close by first quarter 2017, company says.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

WellCare headquarters-Tamp, FL. Photo via Google.WellCare headquarters-Tamp, FL. Photo via Google.

WellCare Health Plans of Florida is acquiring Care1st Health Plan Arizona for $157.5 million, the company announced this week.

The transaction is expected to be funded with available cash on hand, and is slated to close by the first quarter of 2017.

Care 1st Health Plan Arizona, an affiliate of Blue Shield of California, is a managed care company that provides Medicaid and Medicare benefits to approximately 114,000 beneficiaries in Maricopa and Pima counties, Arizona's largest geographic service areas, Wellcare said.

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[Also: Wellcare Health Plans acquires Advicare's Medicaid business]

Care 1st's focus on integrated delivery of medical care and social services aligns with Wellcare's approach to providing improved health outcomes for low-income families, children, the disabled, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs, according to Wellcare CEO Ken Burdick.

WellCare Health Plans focuses exclusively on government-sponsored managed care services.

[Also: WellCare fights Iowa judge's ruling on nixed contract]

"Our acquisition of Care1st Arizona provides us with an opportunity to expand our footprint into Arizona's growing Medicaid and Medicare markets," Burdick said in a released statement. "Care1st Arizona is a well-regarded, quality health plan that has served government-sponsored programs in Arizona for more than 13 years."

Twitter: @SusanJMorse