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VENTURA COUNTY BUSINESS | VENTURA COUNTY DIGEST

WellPoint Health Acquires Rush Presidential Health

March 14, 2000|BARBARA MURPHY

WellPoint Health Networks in Thousand Oaks has completed its acquisition of Rush Prudential Health Plans of Illinois.

The transaction is valued at approximately $200 million.

Based in Chicago, Rush Prudential was co-owned by Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center and the Prudential Insurance Co. of America.

The acquisition brings together Rush Prudential and WellPoint's existing Unicare businesses in Illinois. Rush Prudential companies will now be operated under the Unicare brand, which offers both PPO and HMO health care products.

WellPoint views the Midwest as a key strategic market for the expansion of health care products, said Leonard D. Schaeffer, chairman and chief executive officer.

"As a result of this acquisition, Unicare significantly increases its presence in an important strategic market that is vibrant and growing," Schaeffer said.

With the completion of this transaction, WellPoint more than doubles its current Illinois medical membership to nearly 600,000 members. Unicare will now have more than 1,700 employees and numerous sales offices and client services centers throughout Illinois.

WellPoint offers health insurance to 7.3 million medical customers and nearly 32 million specialty members through Blue Cross of California in California and Unicare in other parts of the country.

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