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Anthem finishes deal for Medicaid provider Simply Healthcare

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Anthem has closed its purchase of Florida Medicaid managed care provider Simply Healthcare Holdings Inc., as the nation’s second-largest health insurer continues to expand its government business.

Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish said Wednesday in a statement that the deal also gives his company a “strong foothold” in Florida’s market for Medicare Advantage plans, which are privately run versions of the government’s coverage program for people who are over age 65 or disabled.

Terms of the deal, which was announced in December, have not been disclosed. Anthem said it won’t affect its earnings this year.

Simply Healthcare offers Medicare and Medicaid plans in 60 Florida counties. It has 177,000 customers for Medicaid, the state-federal program that covers the poor and disabled people. It also counts 21,000 Medicare customers.

Anthem, which changed its name from WellPoint late last year, has been working to increase its share of government business for a few years now. In late 2012, it completed a $4.46 billion acquisition of Amerigroup Corp., which runs Medicaid coverage in several states.

Swedish told analysts in January that government business represented more than 48 percent of its consolidated operating revenue in the recently completed fourth quarter.

Shares of Indianapolis-based Anthem Inc. climbed 57 cents to $142.33 Wednesday morning, while broader indexes slipped.