McLaren Health Plan announced it has reached an agreement to purchase CareSource Michigan, a 34,500 member Medicaid health maintenance organization (HMO) based in Lansing, Michigan and operated by CareSource, the nation's second largest Medicaid managed health care plan, headquartered in Dayton, Ohio.

The deal must first be approved by the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation. The approval process is expected to take 90 days.

Upon approval, McLaren Health Plan intends to merge the operations of CareCource Michigan with it's current operation headquartered in Flint. CareSource Michigan members will become members of McLaren Health Plan once the deal has been finalized, and they will have access to a combined network of more then 20,000 providers statewide. Current CareSource Michigan members will experience no interruption in the health care services they currently receive and will keep their doctors and use the same hospitals. The transaction will not impact CareSource Ohio members.

With the anticipated acquisition, McLaren Health Plan will expand its market for Medicaid managed care to 53 Michigan counties from its current 30-county footprint. Founded in 1998, McLaren Health Plan currently covers more then 80,000 people in its Medicaid HMO.

"For McLaren Health Plan, the ability to expand into new markets and nearly double the geographic service area for our MEdicaid managed care services is strategically significant," said Kathy Kendall, president and CEO of McLaren Health Plan. "Obviously the Medicaid market in Michigan has been growing, and with the expanded 2014 eligibility standards of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, we expext that this growth will be sustained moving into the future."

Along with a strong commitment to its employees, CareSource has a long standing reputation for providing excellent care to its members and outstanding service to its provider community, Kendall said.

Pamela B. Morris, CareSource president and CEO, said the organization is pleased to have found a nonprofit organization that shares the value of putting members at the center of every decision. "After months of evaluation, we are confident that McLaren is the right organization to serve the CareSource Michigan health plan and provide the highest quality service and innovation to out current members."

As part of the formal transition process, all CareSource Michigan members will be sent welcome kits that provide information about McLaren sevices and providing providers. This includes an offer of a personal health coach who will provide each members with information and assistance in accessing the right health care services based on his or her unique needs.