US based WellCare Health Plans has inked an agreement to acquire UnitedHealthcare’s Medicaid business in South Carolina, in a bid to strengthen its health underwriting footprint in the region.

It is expected that the deal will complete during the fourth quarter of 2012, after obtaining regulatory approvals.

WellCare CEO Alec Cunningham said, "This acquisition offers us a promising growth opportunity in the attractive South Carolina government programs market, and is well-aligned with our multi-product strategy."

"We believe the state is making policy changes that should improve the Medicaid program for managed care plans, and offer the potential for increased membership."

Managing a network of over 30 hospitals, 1,800 primary care physicians, and 2,000 specialists, the health insurer serves 65,000 Medicaid members in 39 of the state’s 46 counties, as of October 2012.

Serving 2.6 million members, WellCare delivers a number of health plans for families, children, and the aged, blind, and disabled, as well as prescription drug plans in the country.