Anthem, Indianapolis, said it plans to sue within a few days to overturn the rejection by California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi of Anthem's planned $16.4 billion merger with WellPoint Health Networks. Garamendi on July 23 refused to approve Anthem's proposed acquisition of WellPoint's California unit, calling the deal bad for policyholders. Meanwhile, Anthem posted a 34% jump in second-quarter net income to $237.9 million, or $1.66 per share, from $177.3 million, or $1.25 per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 12% to $4.5 billion, as enrollment climbed 8% year over year to 12.6 million members. Anthem raised its full-year, per-share earnings forecast to between $6.95 and $7.05, from a previous projected range of $6.90 to $7.
Separately, Alaska's insurance commissioner conditionally rejected Premera Blue Cross' proposed for-profit conversion, saying that the Mountlake Terrace, Wash.-based insurer could not become an investor-owned company unless it made changes to its application. Earlier this month Washington's insurance commissioner rejected Premera's plan to shed its not-for-profit status, saying a conversion would result in premium increases. Premera, which covers 1.2 million members in Washington and Alaska, has three weeks to appeal. The conversion cannot proceed unless it receives approval from both states' regulators. -- by Laura B. Benko