Funds delivered from liquidation of HMO assets

Published 11:31 pm Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Two south Mississippi hospitals have received more than a half million dollars altogether from the liquidation of a Pearl-based health care insurer accused in 2004 of failing to pay over $800,000 in medical claims.

Gulfport Memorial Hospital has received $482,569 and Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula was given a check for $72,825 as part of the assets recovered in the liquidation of Family Health Care Plus Inc.

Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney delivered the checks last week.

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The state requires HMOs to maintain a net worth of at least $1 million. In 2004, Family Health’s net worth was less than $200,000. The company was taken over by the state; Chaney oversaw the liquidation of its assets.

“It’s vital for the Mississippi Legislature to continue providing the funding that allows us to staff qualified financial examiners who were instrumental in uncovering the true financial position of Family Health Care Plus,” Chaney said Tuesday in a news release.

Founded in 1995, Family Health Care Plus was awarded a $4.3 million contract in 2002 by Hinds County despite concerns that it could not meet its obligations. The Insurance Department had received complaints from providers who had trouble collecting from the HMO.

Joseph Ammerman, a spokesman for the Insurance Department, said most of the providers that were owed money had given up on ever receiving the funds.

“I don’t think there are any more (funds) to come,” Ammerman said. “When this came about, I don’t think anybody thought they were going to get any money from it. But we hired a pretty good (financial examiner) and that’s the amount of money he turned up.”

Before deciding in July 2004 to liquidate Family Health Care Plus, the Insurance Department had worked with the company for several months to determine if the company could be saved or sold.