Talk of the bay: Flush Universal Health Care can enroll members
By Times staff
Published February 8, 2008
Universal Health Care of St. Petersburg has received Medicare approval to enroll new members in its Any, Any, Any plan. A year ago, Florida insurance regulators put a hold on expansion of the popular plan after enrollment outstripped the company's state-mandated financial surplus. In late December, Universal settled with the state, paying $450,000 in fines and agreeing to monthly audits. The plan, with about 40,000 members in eight states, allows members to see any willing provider. People can switch to Universal from private Medicare plans through March 31. Dr. Akshay Desai, Universal's chief executive, said the plan has a $116-million-plus surplus, plus reinsurance.
Governments form investment fund
Local governments upset by the way the State Board of Administration managed their money have started their own fund, the Florida Surplus Asset Fund Trust. A group of community development districts created the fund and installed economist Hank Fishkind as chairman of the board of trustees. The money will be managed by Davidson Fixed Income Investment Management, which runs a similar pool in Colorado. Because of that background, the new fund will start out with a AAAm rating from Standard & Poor's Corp. The state board incurred the wrath by investing in mortgage-backed securities and then temporarily freezing accounts to stop a run on the Local Government Investment Pool.
Boat, car dealers post poor results
Someone should check on sales of Segways. Because apparently we're not buying as many cars or boats, based on a pair of industry leaders based in Florida. MarineMax of Clearwater, the No. 1 recreational boat distributor in the United States, blamed the sluggish economy in posting a $6.4-million loss in its first quarter, widening a $3.8-million loss a year ago. Meanwhile, AutoNation of Fort Lauderdale, the No. 1 auto retailer in the states, said drops in vehicle sales in Florida and California led to a 31 percent fall in fourth-quarter earnings. In missing profit targets, AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson predicted industrywide U.S. vehicles sales would fall to "mid-15-million" in 2008, down from 16.1-million in '07. Observed MarineMax' dour CEO William McGill: "We have yet to see evidence that declining interest rates, stabilizing fuel costs or proposed economic stimuli have had a positive effect on current marine conditions, which appear to be at levels not experienced since the early 1990s."
All about money
Times personal finance editor Helen Huntley talks about money topics and answers your finance questions at blogs.tampabay.com/money.
[Last modified February 7, 2008, 23:21:23]
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