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Talk of the bay: Raid puts hold on Wellcare expansion

By Times Staff Writer
Published October 31, 2007


WellCare Health Plans' efforts to expand its Florida Medicaid programs into seven more counties have been put on hold. The state Agency for Health Care Administration said it was delaying the Tampa managed care company's expansion following the raid on WellCare's headquarters last week by federal and state agents. Florida is already WellCare's biggest Medicaid market, with 356,000 members and annualized revenues of about $706-million. In the wake of the government investigation, WellCare's stock has dropped more than $100 in a week, closing Tuesday at $22.04, down $6.58. Three shareholder lawsuits have also been filed against the company, which has said it is cooperating fully with the government.

Students, chew on this for Target

Do you think of Target first when it comes to food? The Minneapolis-based retailer wishes you would. The chain, which has more than 1,500 stores in 47 states, has turned to University of Tampa students for help. Target has opened a competition for students taking a class called "Practical Strategic Assessment" at Sykes College of Business. Target wants to increase food sales at the SuperTarget stores, and figure out how to recruit the best workers. The UT students will brainstorm solutions, and Target will pick the best proposal on Dec. 7.

Home prices tank worst around here

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area showed the worst yearly home price decline in August when measured against comparable cities, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index. Tampa area prices fell 10 percent. That performance is worse than real estate in such down markets as Detroit, San Diego, Phoenix, Miami and Las Vegas. The index, which measures home prices in 20 metro areas, indicated Tampa's housing prices have returned to those in August 2005.

The OSI fight's over, anyone care?

Months after management completed a $40-per-share takeover of OSI Restaurant Partners, shareholder lawsuits that claimed the buyout price was too low have finally ended. On Tuesday, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Richard Nielsen gave final approval to a settlement deal that will result in a $5-million payday for the plaintiffs' lawyers, a sigh of relief at OSI and a yawn from former investors.

All about money

Times personal finance editor Helen Huntley talks about money topics and answers your finance questions at

[Last modified October 31, 2007, 06:36:50]

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