NU Online News Service, May 1, 11:42 a.m. – WellPoint Health Networks Inc., Thousand Oaks, Calif., is expanding in the Texas managed care market at a time when competitors are pulling back.

The company says it has completed its previously announced acquisition of MethodistCare Inc. and Methodist Health Insurance Company, the managed care subsidiaries of Methodist Health Care System, Houston, Texas.

MethodistCare is a health maintenance organization and point-of-service company, and Methodist Health is a preferred provider organization. Together, the companies provide major medical coverage for 78,000 people.

Completing the Methodist Health deal increases WellPoint’s Texas enrollment to more than 400,000.

WellPoint will call the HMO and POS unit UNICARE Health Plans of Texas, Inc. The PPO company will become UNICARE Health Insurance Company of Texas.