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Report: WellCare, Centene among bidders for Aetna's Medicare Advantage assets

WellCareHealth Plans Inc. and CenteneCorp. are among bidders for Aetna Inc.'s MedicareAdvantage portfolio, which could be valued at about $1 billion,Reuters reported, citing "people familiar with the matter."

However, it is not certain whether WellCare or Centene willsucceed with a transaction with Aetna, should it proceed with the sale,according to the report. Other companies are also interested in the portfolioof Medicare Advantage plans, which covers approximately 350,000 patients,Reuters noted.

The potential sale is part of Aetna's efforts to obtainapproval of its pending acquisitionof Humana Inc., thenews outlet said. The U.S. Justice Department is reportedly of the potential tie-upbetween Aetna and Humana, concerned that the deal could hurt competition withinthe industry.

Aetna declined to comment, Reuters said, adding that Humanaand WellCare did not immediately respond to requests for comment.