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FL Blue Drops Retirees (Biz Roundup)

Jacksonville-based Florida Blue plans to eliminate employer-based insurance plans for 500 early retirees, saying they now can buy private Florida Blue policies or shop on the health insurance exchange.  The move will affect former workers not yet 65, according to the Florida Times-Union.

Also, the insurance company and the HCA hospital chain have renewed their contract, which will allow those with Florida Blue access to 42 HCA hospitals and 32 surgery centers, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

In other business news, shareholders for Mako Surgical Corp. overwhelmingly backed the company’s $1.65 billion sale to Minnesota-based Stryker Corp.  Davie-based Mako manufactures surgical robots, the South Florida Business Journalreports. The closing is expected to take place on Dec. 17.

And a mental hospital is slated for foreclosure following the sentencing of its former CEO and three other executives for Medicare fraud.  Karen Kallen-Zury, former CEO of Hollywood Pavillion mental hospital, and the others were sentenced to federal prison after defrauding Medicare of $39 million, according to the South Florida Business Journal.  On Dec. 5, Stabilis Fund II filed a lawsuit to foreclose the hospital, as well as its Hollywood Hills Rehabilitation Center.

Finally, a decade after Florida launched a multi-million dollar campaign for biotech research and industrial centers, one company is thriving without receiving state or local tax incentives, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.  Five-year-old TherapeuticsMD Inc. offers women’s health products, including menopause treatments. It began being traded on Wall Street in March.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.