Anthem, a fast-growing Indianapolis-based health insurer, added to its substantial holdings in New England last week with the completion of its $120 million purchase of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Hampshire.
Anthem acquired Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Connecticut in July 1997 through a noncash merger and is buying Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maine, also for $120 million. The Maine acquisition isn't expected to close until next year, pending final regulatory approvals.
In total, the Connecticut, Maine and New Hampshire Blues plans have more than 1.7 million enrollees.
Anthem's acquisition of the 362,000-enrollee New Hampshire plan, based in Manchester, has been pending since late January, when both sides signed a tentative sales agreement. After a lengthy regulatory approval process, the New Hampshire Department of Insurance cleared the sale on Oct. 26, and the deal closed immediately.
Some $80 million of the $120 million in sales proceeds will be used to create a charitable foundation to provide for state residents' unmet healthcare needs. An independent board appointed by the state attorney general will run the foundation.
The remaining $40 million will be used to retire the New Hampshire Blues' plan's debt and pay closing costs.
"We're very interested in expanding in the Northeast, and this really positions us as a strong regional player," said Anthem spokeswoman Lauren Green-Caldwell.
Anthem will rename the not-for-profit New Hampshire plan Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and it will become part of the Anthem East unit, which includes the Connecticut Blues.
The 380,000-member not-for-profit Maine Blues also will become part of that Anthem unit if and when that sale closes.
Anthem in September filed its final documents with the Maine Bureau of Insurance, formally requesting approval of its proposed purchase of the South Portland-based Maine Blues (Sept. 27, p. 24). As much as $100 million of the $120 million purchase price would be used to set up a not-for-profit foundation.
Regulatory review of the Maine deal is expected to extend into spring 2000, Anthem officials said.