HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana regulators have set a February hearing on Chicago-based Health Care Service Corp.'s plans to acquire the state's largest health-care provider.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana last month requested approval of the merger with the nation's fourth-largest insurer.

The proposal must be approved by the insurance commissioner and attorney general.

Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen says a public hearing will be held Feb. 12 in Helena.

Former Montana Supreme Court Justice William Leaphart will be the hearing examiner. Representatives from the two companies will tell Leaphart why they believe the acquisition is in the public's interest.

HCSC has 13 million members in Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

Blue Cross has 272,000 members in Montana.