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St. Louis health insurer closes deal on California acquisition


St. Louis-based health insurer Centene Corp. on Thursday said it has closed its $6 billion acquisition of Woodland Hills, California-based insurer Health Net Inc.

The acquisition, initially announced in July, expands Medicaid managed care provider Centene's government programs to include Medicare Advantage, as well as those offered through contracts with the U.S. departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, the company said in a statement.

The deal also extends Centene's reach across the public health exchange marketplaces, the insurer said in the statement.

The combined company now covers more than 10 million people, Centene said in the statement.

Centene President and CEO Michael F. Neidorff will continue to head the combined company, which will be headquartered in St. Louis.

Jay Gellert, Health Net's former president and CEO, and James Woys, its former executive vice president and chief financial and operating officer, will consult on the transition of the companies.

“We are pleased to announce the completion of this transformative acquisition, which creates tremendous opportunity for our shareholders, members, providers and key stakeholders,” Mr. Neidorff said in the statement. “Members and providers will benefit from Centene's increased scale, as well as our geographic and product diversity. Shareholders will benefit from the significant value-creation potential of our enhanced platform as we move forward as one of the largest providers of Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and other government-sponsored programs in the country.”