CVS Health to buy Illinois insurance unit

Centene is selling its Illinois Medicaid and Medicare Advantage business lines to CVS Health in order to facilitate its more than $15 billion purchase of WellCare Health Plans.

Centene is selling its Illinois Medicaid and Medicare Advantage business lines to CVS Health in order to facilitate its more than $15 billion purchase of WellCare Health Plans. The Centene unit is one of six private insurers awarded contracts to administer Medicaid benefits in Illinois under a managed care program intended to improve care and save money. The proposed merger of Centene and WellCare follows WellCare's 2018 purchase of Meridian, another participant in the state's Medicaid managed care program. IlliniCare has 16% of the state's Medicaid managed care market, and WellCare's Meridian has 36%, according to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Healthcare & Family Services, which oversees Medicaid. "Expanding our Medicaid and Medicare Advantage presence in Illinois will allow us to serve more members with our proven holistic approach that addresses physical, behavioral and social determinants of care," said Karen Lynch, executive vice president of CVS Health and president of Aetna.