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Ahead of the Bell: Centene, Health Net shares climb
San Francisco Chronicle

Shares of health insurers Centene Corp. and Health Net Inc. both started climbing early Wednesday, a day after California regulators approved their planned, $6.3-billion combination. Centene said the deal should close shortly. St. Louis-based Centene announced its cash-and-stock bid to buy Health Net in July, as part of a wave of consolidation that swept through the managed care sector last summer. The deal gives Centene a chance to expand in two hot growth areas for health insurers, the state- and federally-funded Medicaid program for the poor and people with disabilities; and the federally-supported Medicare Advantage program.

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