Managed care provider Molina Healthcare said Thursday that it has reached agreement to acquire Florida NetPass for $42 million in cash.

The deal, expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2009, will put Molina in five of the top 10 Medicaid markets in the country, the Long Beach-based company said.

Florida NetPass provides care management and administrative services to about 58,000 members in South and Central Florida. About 42,000 of those are enrolled in that state's Temporary Aid for Needy Families program, with the remaining 16,000 enrolled in the state's program for the aged, blind or disabled.

Molina Healthcare's current nine licensed health plan subsidiaries, which target Medicaid and similar programs for elderly or disadvantaged people, serve about 1.2 million members.

Shares of Molina were up 37 cents, or 1 percent, to $31.81 in mid-morning trading.

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