(Photo: Allison Bell/TA)

Federal antitrust regulators are holding back from challenging efforts by Centene Corp. to acquire New York State Catholic Health Plan Inc., which does business as Fidelis Care.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission let the usual federal antitrust review waiting period expire early, Centene announced Monday.

Early termination of the waiting period could help ease Centene’s move into the New York state Medicaid plan and individual health markets.

(Related: Centene to Enter New York State Individual Health Market)

Centene, a St. Louis-based company, announced in September that it has agreed to pay $3.75 billion for “substantially all of the assets” of Fidelis Care.

Fidelis Care is a major player in New York state’s Medicaid plan, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and individual major medical markets, including the Affordable Care Act public exchange market.

Fidelis Care was providing or administering health coverage for about 1.6 million people on June 30.

Centene has been focusing on selling coverage in the Medicaid and CHIP plan markets, and also has a growing ACA exchange plan operation. The company now provides or administers coverage for about 12 million people.

Centene still needs to get approvals for the Fidelis Care deal from New York state regulators. It hopes to complete the acquisition by March 31.

— Read New York State Exchange Rates to Vary Widely on ThinkAdvisor.


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