Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine rejected a financial proposal from Anthem, which is seeking final state approval of its $16.4 billion acquisition of WellPoint Health Networks. Oxendine approved the merger in June without requesting concessions but rescinded his order after Anthem pledged $100 million to California to appease state regulators there. Georgia Insurance Department spokesman Glenn Allen declined to discuss the specifics of Anthem's proposal but said Oxendine "felt that Georgia citizens deserved better than what had been offered." Allen said Oxendine was working with staff on a new proposal with "more appropriate commitments to the state." Georgia is WellPoint's second-largest market after California.
On Tuesday, California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi dropped his opposition to the transfer of WellPoint's BC Life and Health Insurance unit to Anthem after the insurer agreed to more than double its investment in California healthcare to $265 million. Anthem since has been meeting with regulators in the nine other states with a direct say over the merger to "answer any questions they may have and determine what may be necessary in order to close the deal as quickly as possible," an Anthem spokesman said. -- by Laura B. Benko