Stockholders of Tampa-based WellCare Health Plans, Inc., and Centene Corp. approved a proposed merger between two of the largest players in Florida’s Medicaid managed-care program, the companies said Monday.
The $17.3 billion deal, which was announced in March, calls for St. Louis-based Centene to acquire WellCare. While the acquisition was approved by stockholders of both companies, it continues to need state and federal approvals.
"We are pleased that Centene stockholders overwhelmingly support the recommendation of the board of directors on the pending combination with WellCare and have voted in favor of the transaction," Michael F. Neidorff, Centene's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement Monday.
"With the addition of WellCare, we are creating a combined company that is better able to serve members and help them achieve better health outcomes. Centene and WellCare will continue to move forward with federal and regulatory approvals with a focus on improving quality for recipients, fair compensation for providers and savings for states.”
A news release said the companies, in part, are working through insurance approval processes in 26 states, with four states --- Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky and Missouri --- giving conditional approval.