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WellPoint acquires CareMore

The buyer: WellPoint (NYSE: WLP), based in Indianapolis

The acquired: CareMore Health Group, based in Cerritos, Calif.

The price: $800 million

The timeline: Announced June 8, 2011; finalized Aug. 22, 2011

The scoop: WellPoint gained a competitive edge in the senior healthcare market by acquiring the for-profit Medicare contractor CareMore, which pioneered a model of providing integrated coordinated care at its 26 clinics throughout California, Nevada, and Arizona. CareMore staffs its clinics with doctors, physical therapists, and case managers to provide care for about 54,000 patients, most of whom have several chronic conditions.

The acquisition allowed WellPoint to become more deeply involved in direct patient care, running CareMore's networks of clinics that intensely monitor and treat chronically ill older patients to improve their health while preventing their medical bills from rising. However, the deal wasn't simply about buying membership, but instead was a longer-term strategic bet on an integrated approach between insurers and providers to coordinate care, WellPoint CFO Wayne DeVeydt said in a June 9 Wall Street Journal article.

WellPoint plans to more than double the CareMore network of clinics during the next two to three years and might eventually consider using the CareMore clinical approach for other populations, such as Medicaid participants and commercially-insured consumers.

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