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URBANA — The Carle health system is poised to become the majority owner of a North Carolina nonprofit health insurer at the end of the year.

Under terms of the deal, FirstCarolinaCare Insurance will continue to operate under that name after the transaction closes, and it will also continue to be a separate company from Carle’s for-profit health insurer, Health Alliance Medical Plans.

While the two insurers will still be separate companies, Health Alliance and FirstCarolinaCare have agreed to the terms of a joint venture to provide health insurance products in North Carolina, according to Carle. FirstCarolinaCare is a wholly owned subsidiary of FirstHealth of the Carolinas, a health system based in Pinehurst, N.C.

“Our partnership with Carle will assist FCCI in improving our operational capabilities while strategically positioning both organizations for the future,” said Mickey Foster, CEO of FirstHealth of the Carolinas.

The agreement also calls for FirstHealth of the Carolinas to continue to play an active role in FirstCarolianaCare as minority owner, according to Carle.

FirstCarolinaCare provides group health coverage to more than 200 businesses in North Carolina. Its MAPD (Medicare Advantage with Prescription Drug) plan operates the name FirstMedicare Direct and serves nearly 7,000 members in 15 counties.

The transaction is expected to be finalized by Dec. 31, pending regulatory approval.