Universal Health Care

Health News Florida
9:20 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Universal Wants $5.9M From Vendors

The trustee representing bankrupt Universal Health Care Group, Inc., has filed 11 lawsuits in an attempt to recover $5.9 million from vendors, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal. The St. Petersburg based holding company that provided health insurance and managed care through its subsidiaries has been struggling to untangle its finances since investigators raided the company's headquarters in 2013.

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Health News Florida
10:25 am
Wed July 30, 2014

No Deal on Former Universal Health HQ

A doctor-turned-developer has walked away from a $10.5-million deal to buy Universal Health Care’s old St. Petersburg headquarters, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reports. Dr. Kevin Hirsch, a trauma surgeon, said city officials were dragging their feet on the deal to buy the downtown building that once housed the now bankrupt Medicare insurer. 

Health News Florida
11:27 am
Wed October 16, 2013

No More Policies from ‘Ask-Gary’ Firm

An auto-insurance company owned by the founder of the “1-800-Ask-Gary” referral service has been barred from writing new policies, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. Dr. Gary Kompothecras’ Sarasota-based AGIC Inc. is fighting with the state Office of Insurance Regulation over allegations that it doesn't have enough funds to pay future claims.

In other business news:

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Health News Florida
11:30 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Grand Jury Delving Into Universal

It's official, if anyone was in doubt: A federal grand jury is investigating three former top executives of Universal Health Care, a now-defunct Medicare-plan company in St. Petersburg.

(See other business news below)

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Health News Florida
10:17 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Desai's Kickbacks, Lavish Lifestyle Described

Dr. A.K. Desai

Three of Universal Health Care's top executives -- including president and CEO Dr. A.K. Desai -- required that vendors provide the men with lucrative personal deals on the side before signing contracts, an attorney for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court trustee told the  judge at a hearing covered by the Tampa Bay Times.

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Health News Florida
10:48 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Desai Accused of Diverting $100K to University as Insurer Crumbled

Credit Tampa Bay Times

The trustee that’s handling the Universal Health Care bankruptcy case says Dr. Akshay Desai illegally diverted $100,000 in company money to Wake Forest University as the insurer was crumbling, the Tampa Bay Times reports. 

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HNF Stories
12:41 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Bankruptcy Trustee Named for Universal Health

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 1:27 pm

A Fort Lauderdale CPA has been named bankruptcy trustee for St. Petersburg-based Universal Health Care Group Inc., the parent corporation of two health plans that were placed in liquidation by the state of Florida last month.

The Chapter 11 Trustee is Soneet R. Kapila, founding partner of Kapila & Company, CPAs, according to a spokeswoman for the company, Jeanne Becker.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge K. Rodney May of the Middle District of Tampa signed the order approving Kapila's appointment on Monday.

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Health News Florida
11:25 pm
Sun April 14, 2013

Dr. Desai Soared -- Then Shot Himself Down

A.K. and wife Seema Desai with Mitt Romney.

Dr. Akshay "A.K." Desai borrowed tens of millions of dollars from friends and other investors and quickly built a group of interlocking companies that quickly took in more than $1 billion last year from taxpayers.

He spent lavishly on a waterfront home, $100,000 cars, frequent parties, art, and Republican candidates -- especially candidates. In return, he got appointed to public posts and invited to hang out with them at their homes and on campaign planes.

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Health News Florida
11:49 am
Fri March 29, 2013

'Away From Your Computer! We Have a Search Warrant'

Universal Health Care building
Credit Tampa Bay Times

Health-fraud investigators spent most of Thursday night copying data from the computers at Universal Health Care after federal agents raided the company early Thursday and ordered hundreds of workers out of their offices in the downtown St. Petersburg building.

Meanwhile, Dr. Akshay "A.K." Desai, who founded and ran the Medicare and Medicaid  HMO company, was nowhere in evidence. The gates were closed at his ultra-modern mansion on Tampa Bay.

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HNF Stories
2:27 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

If You Know Someone in Universal...

Many affected by Universal's closing are elderly.

Nearly half of Universal Health Care customers -- those enrolled in a Medicare plan --  need to act immediately if they want to protect themselves from the possibility of unexpected expenses next month.

If they switch plans by Sunday, March 31, they will be fully covered under their new plan as of Monday, April 1. If they don't, the federal government will automatically enroll them in traditional Medicare. If they had prescription-drug coverage under Universal, they will be automatically enrolled in a drug plan.

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Health News Florida
9:33 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Federal Agents Raid Universal HMO

Universal Health Care's headquarters
Credit Tampa Bay Times

Federal agents bearing subpoenas raided Universal Health Care on Thursday morning around 8 a.m. and made most employees leave, according to the Tampa Bay Times.


If you know someone on Universal, please read this. 

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Health News Florida
11:47 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Have Universal? Not For Long

Patients who have insurance through Universal Health Care won’t have it after April 1, the Tampa Bay Times reports. As part of the state’s takeover of the troubled St. Petersburg-based insurer, thousands of Medicare and Medicaid members will have to switch to a different plan.   

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Health News Florida
8:49 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Judge Orders Universal into State Receivership

A bankrupt Medicare plan based in St. Petersburg will be turned over to the State of Florida's Division of Financial Services  by April 1 under an order issued Thursday by a circuit court judge in Tallahassee. As the Tampa Bay Times reports, this puts hundreds of Universal Health Care employees at risk of losing their jobs. 

Health News Florida
10:30 am
Wed March 13, 2013

State Asks Judge to Liquidate Universal

State regulators are in an emergency court hearing Wednesday morning in Tallahassee, asking a judge to liquidate Universal Health Care and turn it over to them by April 1. 

They say the financial turmoil at the St. Petersburg-based plan has led many health-care providers to stop treating Universal's patients because the company owes them money, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

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Health News Florida
11:31 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

NJ Insurer Wins Auction for Universal

Care Point Insurance Co., based in New Jersey,  won a bankruptcy auction for Universal Health Care Group in St. Petersburg, pending approval by state authorities. Care Point's bid was $33.25 million, all cash, according to Harley Riedel, Universal's bankruptcy attorney.

A company controlled by Dr. Kiran Patel actually offered more money -- $36.5 million -- but it would have been paid over time.

HNF Stories
3:43 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Universal Overstated Assets, State Says; CEO Resigns Political Post

Dr. Akshay Desai, president of Universal Health Care

Universal Health Care executives overstated assets and submitted "misleading financial statements" to the state and a major creditor, according to state documents released Thursday by the Office of Insurance Regulation.

Meanwhile, Universal's founder, president and CEO, Dr. Akshay "A.K." Desai,  has resigned his post as finance chairman for the Republican Party of Florida.

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HNF Stories
9:30 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Universal Health's Fate Up to Courts

Universal Health Care still has a willing buyer with a fat wallet, but its future now lies in the hands of the Department of Financial Services and possibly the court system.

The St. Petersburg-based company, founded and run by Dr. A.K. Desai, has Medicare plans in 19 states, including Florida. Universal also has a Medicaid contract with the state of Florida. Desai said the company currently has about 145,000 members.

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HNF Stories
3:38 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Kiran Patel: I'll Take on Universal

Dr. Kiran Patel

Dr. Kiran Patel of Tampa, who already has two small but fast-growing Medicare HMOs, said he has offered to take over Universal Health Care, a financially-troubled company based in St. Petersburg.

While there are still many unknowns, he said, he understands Universal’s liabilities are somewhere between $50 million and $100 million. He said that if Universal doesn’t get a bailout, the state will place it in receivership.

"It's a very sick company," he said.

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HNF Stories
3:51 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Buyout of Troubled Universal Falls Through

Mike Fernandez of MBF Partners

MBF Healthcare Partners, an investment group chaired by Miami multimillionaire Miguel "Mike" Fernandez, will not be buying Universal Health Care, after all. 

MBF's public relations agent released a terse statement to that effect Wednesday afternoon, a few hours after Health News Florida asked for confirmation that the talks had been called off. The statement said the two companies "mutually agreed not to proceed."

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10:58 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

It's in the Stars: Universal Health Care Ailing

In the just-ended Medicare enrollment season, Universal Health Care took a hit when the federal government sent enrollees a letter suggesting they switch plans because of Universal's low quality scores, less than 3 stars out of 5. Now it has halted sales.
By Jeff Harrington, Times Staff Writer In Print: Saturday, January 19, 2013 Financially struggling Universal Health Care, once among the fastest-growing companies in St. Petersburg, warned agents that it has stopped marketing its Medicare services in all areas effective immediately. The notice, which did not include a reason, could threaten the survival of the managed care company.