Trending News Today: Insurer Centene in Talks for WellCare Health Plans Purchase

Top news of the day from across the health care industry.

US health insurer Centene Corp is in negotiations to acquire WellCare Health Plans Inc, Reuters reported. Reuters noted that the deal could help reduce Centene’s dependence on attracting members from Obamacare’s health care exchanges and allow it to compete with larger rivals United Health Group Inc and CVS Health Corp. According to the article, the Obamacare program accounted for approximately 40% of Centene’s earnings, whereas WellCare is more focused on Medicare and Medicaid plans. If successful, a deal could emerge as soon as early April, the article reported.

Purdue Pharma, the maker of the opioid OxyContin, has agreed to a $270 million settlement with Oklahoma, NPR reported. According to the article, Oklahoma attorney Mike Hunter filed the lawsuit 2 years ago, alleging that Purdue Pharma was responsible for the opioid crisis with the marketing of its product OxyContin. The settlement will go towards funding addiction research and treatment in the state, the article reported.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has backed a ruling from a district court judge in Texas that the Affordable Care Act should be invalidated, The American Journal of Managed Care reported. According to the article, the federal judge in Texas previously ruled that when the penalty for not having health insurance was removed, the individual mandate became unconstitutional. Now, the DOJ has announced that the Trump administration believes the district court’s ruling should be affirmed, the article reported.