Medicaid coverage provider Centene is spending about $6.3 billion to buy fellow insurer Health Net, as managed care companies look to bulk up while adjusting to the federal health care overhaul.
St. Louis-based Centene Corp. said Thursday it will pay a combination of cash and stock valued at $78.57, based on Wednesday's closing price, for each Health Net share. That's a premium of about 21 percent over Health Net's closing price of $65.06. The deal totals about $6.8 billion counting debt.
Both companies' boards have approved the acquisition, which is expected to close early next year.
Health Net Inc., based in Woodland Hills, Calif., gives Centene a chance to increase its enrollment in Medicaid coverage, the state and federal program for the poor and people with disabilities. The overhaul expands Medicaid coverage for millions of people.