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August 24, 1995| Times Staff and Wire Reports

Health Merger Nears Approval: Blue Cross of California and its WellPoint Health Networks subsidiary said they have received assurance from the California Department of Corporations for approval of the merger of WellPoint with Health Systems International, the parent company of Health Net. Blue Cross, which owns 80% of WellPoint, said it expects to receive final state approval for the transaction on or about Sept. 7. Blue Cross, which has strongly opposed certain merger conditions sought by the state agency, did not say how those issues had been overcome. Consumers Union, a consumer watchdog organization that has opposed the Blue Cross proposal, asked Corporations Commissioner Gary Mendoza to hold off approval and instead appoint an independent counsel to study the Blue Cross plan to convert from a nonprofit to a for-profit company.

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