Coventry to buy Preferred Health Systems

WICHITA - Via Christi Health has signed an agreement to sell Preferred Health Systems to Coventry Health Care, Via Christi and Coventry announced this morning.

Preferred Health Systems is a wholly owned subsidiary of Via Christi Health. The sale is expected to close in 90 to 120 days.

At closing, Coventry will have full-service contracts with all Via Christi hospitals, Via Christi Health said.

PHS, which has about 240 employees, is the largest commercial insurer in the Wichita area. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kansas is second, and Coventry is third.

"Combining the relationships and knowledge that PHS has built in the region with Coventry's resources and expertise will create an even stronger insurance company, thereby ensuring the continuance of a competitive health insurance marketplace," said Kevin Conlin, president and CEO of Via Christi Health.

Allen Wise, CEO of Coventry, said, "I am delighted to announce this transaction, which greatly strengthens Coventry's presence in the Kansas market. PHS has established itself as a strong local-based health plan with an excellent track record of serving employer groups in the Wichita area. This acquisition reaffirms Coventry's commitment to strengthening its health plan footprint and is consistent with our focus on our seven core businesses. Upon completion of this transaction, we will serve more than 1 million members in our six state Midwest region."

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