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Recently, WellCare Health Plans Inc. (WCG - Snapshot Report) revealed that the New York Department of Health (DOH) has sanctioned expansion of its New York Advocate Medicaid Managed Long-Term Care (MLTC) health plans.

The expansion will allow for WellCare to operate in four new counties namely Nassau, Richmond, Suffolk and Westchester. Currently, WellCare executes its MLTC health plan in nine counties — Bronx, Kings, Queens, New York, Buffalo, Orange, Rockland, Erie and Ulster.

The company began to enrol members under its Advocate Health plan in the four new service areas on Mar 1. WellCare provides its long term care services to approximately 4000 New Yorkers enrolled under its Advocate and Advocate Plus plans, as of Feb 28, 2013. With the expansion of its operations to four new counties, membership is scheduled to swell, thus favorably affecting overall sales of the company.

Advocate, a managed long term care health plan is optimized for people on Medicaid. The plan provides help to its members in their day-to-day chores which includes home and personal care services, thereby allowing them the benefit of staying in their homes and communities. In other words the plan offers necessary services to enable the vulnerable to enhance their standards of living.

WellCare has been continuously working towards business expansion and foray into newer markets. The company concluded the purchase of some assets of Arcadian Health Plan Inc.'s Desert Canyon Community Care Medicare Advantage plans in Arizona from Humana Inc. (HUM - Analyst Report) in Jan 2013. The deal was aimed at expanding its operations in Arizona.

Last August, health insurer Aetna Inc. (AET - Analyst Report) entered into an agreement to buy out its rival, Coventry Health Care Inc. for $5.6 billion. The aim is to expand its Medicare and Medicaid business. The expectation is that under ObamaCare, the government-based health plans will expand significantly. The deal is expected to culminate in the middle of 2013.

WellCare currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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