NU Online News Service, Jan. 28, 9:15 a.m. – The boards of WellPoint Health Networks Inc., Thousand Oaks, Calif., and CareFirst Inc., Owings Mills, Md., have approved an amended merger plan that would raise WellPoint’s bid to $1.37 billion, from an original offer of $1.3 billion made in November 2001.

Consultants hired by state regulators estimated in a report to the Maryland Insurance Administration in December 2002 that WellPoint should pay between $1.38 billion and $2.25 billion for CareFirst.

CareFirst holds the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licenses for Delaware, Maryland, Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia.