Health insurers Centene Corp. and WellCare Health Plans said they expect to close their $17 billion merger on Thursday, creating one of the largest providers of government-sponsored health plans with roughly 22 million members.

The insurers announced late Tuesday that they have cleared all the necessary regulatory hurdles to close the deal, including passing a review by the U.S. Justice Department. The companies previously entered agreements to divest parts of their businesses in several locations, all of which will be completed this week.

The American Hospital Association had urged the Justice Department to thoroughly review the merger, arguing it could reduce competition among managed Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Affordable Care Act marketplace plans….

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