Calif. to hold hearings on WellPoint deal

June 17, 2004 at 6:03 PM
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SACRAMENTO, June 17 (UPI) -- California's insurance commissioner will hold hearings this month on the proposed $16 billion acquisition of WellPoint Health Networks by rival Anthem Inc.

Commissioner John Garamendi said in a release Thursday he had "grave" concerns about the proposed deal and its impact on health care insurance in the Golden State.

Critics have predicted the deal would do little to improve health care for combined companies' customers and was mainly aimed at churning up a windfall for the executives of the two firms.

WellPoint, which serves more than 15 million members nationwide through various Blue Cross entities, said earlier this week that the severance payouts and other costs would be paid by Anthem and not by ratepayers.

The hearing will be held June 25 in downtown Los Angeles.

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