(Bloomberg)—The takeover of Amerigroup Corp. at the richest premium for a managed care company in 15 years is turning Medicaid insurers from Centene Corp. to Molina Healthcare Inc. into the industry’s next targets.

WellPoint Inc. agreed this week to buy Amerigroup for $4.9 billion, creating the largest private provider of Medicaid coverage for the poor. The offer was 47 percent higher than Amerigroup’s average price in the prior 20 days, the biggest premium since 1997 for a health maintenance organization acquisition greater than $1 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Centene, which operates Medicaid plans from Texas to Ohio, and Molina, in states such as California and Utah, are also ripe for takeovers, said Oppenheimer & Co.

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