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updated: 6/26/2013 7:28 AM

Montana Blue Cross eyes merger with Chicago group

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Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. -- Attorney General Tim Fox says he will approve the proposed merger of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana with Health Care Service Corp. of Chicago.

Blue Cross is Montana's largest private health insurer with about 250,000 customers.

Health Care Service Corp., a much larger company operating in four states, has offered $40 million for Blue Cross.

Fox approved the deal with conditions, including that the proceeds of the transaction be paid to a new foundation that benefits the public interest.

Fox said Tuesday he will later be announcing plans for the Montana Healthcare Foundation to administer and distribute the assets.

Both Fox and Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen need to approve the plan. Lindeen was scheduled to release her decision Wednesday morning.

A hearings examiner has recommended approval.

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