Since Passport Health announced good news about Medicaid disbursement rates, shares of Evolent Health have fallen. | Courtesy of Yahoo! Finance

Despite apparent good news, shares of a Passport-related company keep falling

Investors don’t appear to be positive about Passport Health Plan’s prospects for survival.

Although the nonprofit told Insider on March 21 that the state’s proposed new Medicaid reimbursement rates are higher than expected, investors have fled from health care consulting company Evolent Health, the revenues of which are tied, at least to a significant degree, to the fate of Passport.

The state is expected to finalize new Medicaid disbursement rates Monday. They will take effect retroactively to April 1 though they won’t be reconciled until the state distributes money in May. While neither the state nor Passport have, so far, provided details, Passport has said the proposed rates are higher than expected, which should be good news for Evolent, as it generates about 11% of its revenue from the Louisville-based nonprofit. However, Passport has not said whether the higher rates from the state would be enough to avert insolvency.

Since Passport said that proposed rates are higher than expected, analyst coverage — from Cantor Fitzgerald, Baird and KeyBanc — has been generally positive, and Evolent shares initially rose on the news. However, since March 20 Evolent’s stock price has fallen 5.3%. During the same period, the S&P 500 has gained 2.4%.

Without a doubt, Passport’s shares have been affected by other dynamics, including a possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but recent court decisions — rejecting, for example, Kentucky’s Medicaid waiver application — and political developments — President Donald Trump saying that any changes to the ACA would occur after the 2020 election — generally should have been good news for Evolent.

The decline in Evolent shares since March 20 also has meant a further hit to Passport’s assets. As part of their alliance, Evolent provided Passport with a stake in the company. A Passport spokesman told Insider last week that the nonprofit has not sold any of the 1.1 million Evolent shares it held earlier this year. Those shares were worth $14.4 million on March 20. They were worth about $759,000 less on Friday — though still enough to cover nearly three months’ worth of Passport shortfalls. —Boris Ladwig

Rent prices in Louisville outpacing national average

According to a new report by RENTCafe.com, Louisville rent prices in March were up 3.6% compared to a year ago — higher than the national average increase of 3.2%.

The rents here were Kentucky’s fastest-growing, with renters now paying an average of $33 more per month than just a year ago. Apartments in Louisville also are the most expensive in the state, averaging $941 per month. The next highest is Lexington at $899.

The lowest average rent in the state remains Florence at $875, although the report shows it has seen the highest growth since 2015 at 17.8%.

Nationally, smaller cities in Texas such as Odessa and Midland showed the highest gains in rent prices over last year. The highest average rent for March 2019 was in Manhattan at $4,141, a 1% increase over 2018. —Kevin Gibson

GetMyBoat, sort of an Airbnb on the water, wants to expand in Kentucky

San Francisco-based GetMyBoat, which serves as sort of an Airbnb concept for watercraft, wants to expand its reach in Kentucky.

GetMyBoat offers a way for non-boat owners to rent everything from pontoon boats to stand-up paddlers. | Courtesy GetMyBoat

The company has more than 130,000 listings in 184 countries, but only about 30 listings in Kentucky.

“We are seeking to change that, as the days are getting warmer and boating season is coming into full swing,” Val Streif, a spokesperson for GetMyBoat, said.

The service lets consumers get out onto the water without the expense and time commitment of owning a watercraft. If someone enjoys the water but only wants to go out a handful of times per year, the service is a way to do that on a budget.

Owners can list their boats free of charge. They incur a fee only when a reservation is made. Rentals might include anything from a pontoon to a kayak to a personal water craft.

Streif said the average boat is used only 8% of the year, so offsetting costs of ownership is a key reason many boat owners use GetMyBoat.

“For some, it’s a very lucrative side hustle,” Streif said.

The service’s app is available free on iOS and Android. Watercraft owners can register online. —Kevin Gibson

Six regional companies participate in 7-month Endeavor Scale Up

Courtesy Endeavor Louisville

Endeavor Louisville has embarked on yet another effort to help high-growth-potential companies succeed. The organization has started a seven-month program called Scale Up intended to support companies that “have the potential to break out of the pack and truly scale,” according to Jackson Andrews, managing director of Endeavor Louisville.

Endeavor, which describes itself as the leading high-impact entrepreneurship movement, said in a recent newsletter that it partnered with Ernst & Young to run the first-ever EY Ripples Business Clinic and to provide mentors.

The six regional companies and entrepreneurs that make up the first Endeavor Scale Up cohort:

  1. Autymate (Louisville): Bryan Perdue
    Developed over the last six years, Autymate is a software platform for building business apps that connect the company’s data, automate work and generate custom reports.
  2. Costello (Indianapolis): Frank Dale
    Costello provides sales professionals with A.I powered sales playbook software to help them have great conversations and ask the right questions to win deals.
  3. FreshFry (Louisville): Jeremiah Chapman and Jacob Huff
    FreshFry produces the FreshFry Pod to extend the life of restaurants’ frying oil by capturing and removing impurities in a safe and easy-to-use manner.
  4. Space Tango (Lexington): Twyman Clements
    With the belief that the microgravity environment is a new frontier for innovation, Space Tango conducts research and manufactures in the microgravity environment to benefit life on earth.
  5. Trim.co (Louisville): Laura Melillo Barnum, Chris Edwards and Lindsey Miller
    Trim.co is a convenient solution to providing haircutting services within a workspace. It hires great stylists to provide top-notch haircuts to the most valuable asset in a business: the people.
  6. Untitled (Louisville): Aaron Peabody, Kramer Caswell, and Connor Gaffney
    Untitled empowers clients by strengthening and augmenting their understanding of the end user through data.—Mickey Meece

In Brief

ElderServe is kicking off a $2.5 million capital campaign on Thursday, April 11, to complete the renovation of its center for older residents in the Russell neighborhood.

The locally owned NuYale Cleaners, in business since in 1956, says it has introduced a mobile app that allows customers to request a free pickup of their dry cleaning.

UofL Athletics says it has hired Populous, an architecture and design firm, to assess the university’s sports venues. The work will begin in May, UofL said, and is expected to take six months.

Justin D. Leighty is the new lead philanthropy officer for the Baptist Health Foundation of Greater Louisville. Leighty, who previously worked for the University of Louisville, will build a team of philanthropy officers to benefit Baptist Health Louisville and Baptist Health LaGrange.