NU Online News Service, Dec. 2, 2:08 p.m. – The Maryland Insurance Administration will hold three more days of public hearings this month on efforts by CareFirst Inc., Owings Mills, Md., to become a for-profit company and be acquired by WellPoint Health Networks Inc., Thousand Oaks, Calif.

The hearings will start at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 16 at the Baltimore Inner Harbor Marriott Hotel. Speakers will include representatives from The Blackstone Group, New York, and Roger Brown & Associates, Jefferson City, Mo., two consulting firms hired to advise Maryland insurance regulators about the acquisition. Regulators also expect to hear testimony from CareFirst representatives, but they are not planning to hear testimony from members of the public.

Final hearings on the conversion application will take place in late January or early February, regulators say.