Wis. Blues merger wins state approval. The state of Wisconsin last week approved the merger of Blue Cross and Blue Shield United of Wisconsin and United Wisconsin Services to create a new publicly traded company called Cobalt Corp. The merger shifts Wisconsin's largest health insurer to for-profit status and clears the way for the state's two medical schools to begin receiving millions of dollars over the next five years from the transaction (March 19, p. 64). The Blues will contribute its stock, valued at about $250 million, to the newly created Wisconsin United for Health Foun-dation to be used by the medical schools for education, research and public health initiatives.
WellPoint completes Ga. Blues buyout. WellPoint Health Networks, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., has completed its $700 million purchase of Cerulean Cos., the parent of 1.8 million-member Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia. Richard Shirk has been replaced as chief executive officer of the Blues plan by Rebecca Kapustay, a longtime WellPoint executive who most recently was a senior vice president in charge of corporate accounts. Shirk took home $6.6 million as his share in a $48 million bonus for top executives and other Blues employees as part of the sale.