Avera to Buy DAKOTACARE; Enrollment Would Approach 200K

Avera Health, owner of Avera Health Plans (MCO 352), says it will purchase DAKOTACARE (MCO 353), a move that would push the health system’s enrollment to nearly 200,000 members and make it South Dakota’s second largest insurer, Avera said in a press release announcing the decision.

According to AIS’s Directory of Health Plans, the two insurers’ total enrollment topped 165,000 at the end of 2014; DAKOTACARE had 88,877 lives, while Avera had 76,245 members. If approved, the combination will still trail Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, which had 325,669 members.

Avera says it will operate Avera Health Plans and DAKOTACARE as two separate organizations. “Avera is committed to maintaining the DAKOTACARE brand, the broad network of providers and the positive relationships with the more than 400 insurance agents across the state,” Rob Bates, senior vice president of Avera Health, said in the joint press release.

Both Avera and DAKOTA offer plans on South Dakota’s federally facilitated public marketplace, and Avera also offers plans on Iowa’s.

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