WellCare enters Arizona Medicaid market with Care1st acquisition
WellCare Health Plans has agreed to acquire Care1st Health Plan of Arizona for $157.5 million.
The deal, expected to close in the first quarter of next year, marks WellCare’s entrance into the Arizona Medicaid managed-care market. WellCare had 2.43 million Medicaid members as of June 30; more than half of that total resided in Florida and Georgia, two states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Arizona is one of 31 states that has expanded Medicaid eligibility to more lowincome people.
Care1st Arizona provides Medicaid coverage to 112,000 people in the state’s two largest counties and also has a small Medicare Advantage spe-
cial needs plan that covers 2,000 people.
WellCare executives in February said the company had $1.25 billion in cash reserves to spend on transactions. Care1st Arizona is expected to add about $400 million of premium revenue to WellCare, according to Wall Street projections. WellCare, which also sells Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, had revenue of $3.6 billion in the first half of this year.