As Anthem Inc. and California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi continue their legal tug of war, Garamendi released a statement on Wednesday on the proposed WellPoint/Anthem merger.
“Executives at Anthem Inc. claim in their lawsuit that it is wrong for me to consider the harm to policyholders that would result from a proposed merger with WellPoint Health Networks. They contend that my oversight only pertains to the financial health of the company after the merger is complete. They are wrong.
California law requires that I examine the impact that such a merger would have on policyholders, and that is what I did in making my decision to deny approval. Today, I have filed a demurrer with the court asking the judge to affirm that I did the right thing – and followed the law – in considering the welfare of policyholders.”
Anthem Inc. earlier this month filed a lawsuit against Garamendi in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles.
The suit seeks to set aside the Commissioner’s decision to disapprove Anthem’s application to acquire control of BC Life & Health Insurance Company in connection with the proposed merger of WellPoint Health Networks Inc. with Anthem.
The suit also requests the Court to declare that Anthem’s application to acquire control of BC Life satisfied all the legal standards for approval and enjoin the Commissioner from blocking the completion of the merger between Anthem and WellPoint.
BC Life, a WellPoint subsidiary, would represent approximately 4% of the combined revenues of the merged companies.
A copy of the demurrer Garamendi filed is available at www.insurance.ca.gov
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