WellPoint Inc., the country’s largest health insurer, is in talks to buy WellChoice Inc., an insurer with about 5 million customers in New York and New Jersey, according to a published report.
The New York Times reported the talks in Tuesday’s edition, citing unnamed executives. The price would be about $6.5 billion in cash and stock, according to the paper.
Better known as Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, New York-based WellChoice is the largest health insurer in New York State. Previously a nonprofit, it converted to a profit-making venture in 2002 and went public.
Indianapolis-based WellPoint also uses the Blue Cross and Blue Shield brand names for its subsidiaries. It was formed last year, when Anthem bought WellPoint Health Networks Inc. and changed its name. It has about 28 million customers.
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