NU Online News Service, July 27, 2004, 5:59 p.m. EDT

Anthem Inc., Indianapolis, says it plans to file a lawsuit to fight efforts by California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi to block its proposed merger with WellPoint Health Networks Inc., Thousand Oaks, Calif.[@@]

Garamendi, who has jurisdiction only over a WellPoint unit that sells preferred provider health insurance plans in California, says he believes that deal could hurt California consumers.

Anthem and WellPoint argue that they have gone to great lengths to promote consumer interests and the interests of California public health programs.