WellCare Health Plans, a Tampa, Fla.-based health insurer specializing in managed Medicaid and Medicare Advantage programs, signed a definitive agreement to acquire Meridian for $2.5 billion.
Under the agreement, WellCare will absorb Meridian Health Plan of Michigan, Meridian Health Plan of Illinois and MeridianRx, the company's pharmacy benefit manager. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2018 and is subject to regulatory approvals.
WellCare, which covers about 4.3 million members through government-sponsored plans, will take on Meridian's roughly 1.1 million members. With the addition of Meridian's Illinois and Michigan Medicaid markets, WellCare will have the largest share of Medicaid members in six states.