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WellPoint Buys Private Exchange

In a move to compete with state-run exchanges, WellPoint, the largest insurer by enrollment, along with two not-for-profit insurers, Health Care Services and BlueCross BlueShield of Michigan, purchased 78 percent of Minneapolis-based Bloom Health. This is the first investment by HCSC and WellPoint in Bloom Health; BCBS of Michigan increased its existing stake in the company.

Bloom Health offers a menu of health plans to about 20,000 workers at almost 50 companies. Each insurer will serve on Bloom Health’s board of directors, with Bloom remaining a separate company.

The state-run exchanges where people can select health insurance plans are central to the health care overhaul. The Congressional Budget Office expects 24 million people to obtain insurance coverage through the exchanges, expected to start operations in 2014.

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