Thursday, July 5, 2001

to run UHA

Troubled University Health
Alliance to get help managing funds

By Lyn Danninger

State Insurance Commissioner Wayne Metcalf today announced his department will take over management of troubled health insurer University Health Alliance.

In a statement, Metcalf said the state will take a more active role in helping the insurer overcome financial difficulties.

UHA is now more than $2.3 million short of the minimum level of financial reserves required by the state, Metcalf said.

In its December 2000 filing with the Insurance Division, the company reported it was $1.23 million below the minimum required by law. But by the quarter ended March 31 this year, UHA's fortunes appeared to be improving. At that time, the company reported the amount had dropped to around $740,000.

Now with the company still unable to meet state requirements, Metcalf will play a more active in trying to rehabilitate the company.

"We are actively exploring different ways to help UHA overcome its financial difficulties and are hopeful that they will be able to continue to serve their policyholders," Metcalf said.

Metcalf had given UHA until June 30 to file a plan with the division showing how it planned to bring its reserves into compliance with state regulations.

UHA Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Frank Appel said while there will be no change in UHA's current management team, the company is still waiting to hear who Metcalf will appoint to oversee operations.

In spite of financial difficulties, UHA is still meeting its day-to-day obligations, Appel said.

"Although we don't meet the statutory reserve requirement, we're working towards that goal. We're still here, providing benefits and paying claims," he said.

UHA is a nonprofit mutual benefit society that provides health insurance for around 32,000 members. It also processes claims for several union trust funds, which are not affected by Metcalf's latest decision.

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