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UHC Universal Health Care Shut Down: Raided St. Pete HMO clients face new coverage deadline today

9:12 AM, Apr 1, 2013   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- After feds raided Universal Healthcare's offices and shut down the HMO, customers had until April 1st to find new coverage.

We expect a lot of activity Monday at UHC's now-closed headquarters on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg.

Federal agents may still be coming and going, gathering evidence. And some employees may be back for one final visit. Workers were laid off in such a hurry Thursday, some didn't even have time to get officially terminated.

Dozens of employees were sent out to the curb Thursday as federal agents raided Universal Healthcare's offices.

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We're told several now-former employees of Universal will have to come back to the office Monday. They would pick up their termination papers, which let them file for unemployment benefits.

All of this comes after being told suddenly Thursday that they're out of a job. Eight hundred employees lost their jobs.

Federal agents have launched a national healthcare fraud investigation. After the raid, we were told the feds were expected to be at the Universal offices for days going through computers and files.

That followed accusations, sources say, that the HMO over-billed, and possibly defrauded the government. Some employees tell 10 News they suspected the "higher-ups" of mismanagement.

This all goes on as around 50,000 Universal customers face a harsh deadline Monday. People who've had their insurance through this now-closed company had until today to find new coverage.

On March 21st, Leon County Judge Charles Francis ordered Universal Health Care, Inc. into receivership. In addition, just this morning, Judge Francis also ordered Universal Health Care Insurance Company into receivership. The Florida Department of Financial Services is the appointed Receiver of both companies.

Both companies currently have been placed in receivership for purposes of rehabilitation. The aforementioned companies automatically went into liquidation officially at 12:01 a.m. next Monday, April 1st.

The former CEO of Universal Health Care, A.K. Desai, is a big player in the Republican Party with ties to former President George W. Bush and Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, to name a few.

There are numerous photographs of him featured on the internet with those famous politicians, among other ones with him and Governor Rick Scott.

Universal filed for bankruptcy reorganization on February 6th. Employees were told last week that, basically, come Friday, they would be out of a job.

One man told 10 News, "I never thought it'd go down like this,"

Universal Health Care has approximately 100,000 total members with approximately 60,000 being Medicaid members, and 40,000 having Medicare.

Universal Health Care Insurance Company has approximately 37,500 Medicare policyholders.

The Universal Companies' parent organization, Universal Health Care Group, has HMO entities in Texas and Nevada. However, they are not impacted by these Florida receivership orders.

Consumers with questions regarding coverage issues during the rehabilitation should continue to contact the Universal companies' consumer assistance representatives at 1-866-690-4842.

As of the liquidation date on April 1st, all impacted consumers with questions should contact the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) if they have Medicare policies with either of the Universal companies.

Or, if they are Medicaid members of the Universal HMO, they should contact the Agency for Healthcare Administration at 1-866-467-4970 if in Broward, Baker, Clay, Duval and Nassau Counties.

Medicaid recipients in all other counties should call 1-888-367-6554.

Additionally, over the next week, Medicare and Medicaid members who were enrolled in the two Universal companies will be sent letters by either CMS or AHCA that explain their options for continued health care coverage after April 1st.

Both Universal Health Care Insurance Company and Universal Health Care, Inc. are based in St. Petersburg, FL. Universal Health Care Insurance Company was licensed in 25 additional states.

For non-claims related questions regarding the receivership, consumers are asked to contact the receiver by using the "Contact Us" form at the receiver's website, www.myfloridacfo.com/Receiver.

You can also call the Florida Department of Financial Services, as receiver, at 1-800-882-3054 (in Florida only) or (850) 413-3081.

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