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UnitedHealthcare layoffs linked to loss of military contract

However, on Thursday the insurance giant held job fair seeking to hire more than 1,000 military veterans and their spouses.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

The nation's largest insurer cut 381 jobs at UnitedHealthcare in Phoenix this month after losing its contract with Tricare, the insurance program for the U.S. military.

Yet on Thursday, UnitedHealth Group, the parent company for the UnitedHealthcare insurance arm, held a military career day to recruit veterans and military spouses to fill 1,000 job openings in Minnesota.

[Also: UnitedHealthcare dumped from multibillion Pentagon contracts for Tricare]

UnitedHealth Group was also looking to fill more than 2,000 available telecommuting positions.

Openings exist in technology, clinical, business operations, finance, network management, sales and marketing, customer service, healthcare operations, administrative and sales support, UnitedHealth Group said.

UnitedHealthcare reduced its workforce in Phoenix by 381,  according to ABC15 in Arizona.

Earlier this year UnitedHealth laid off 119 from an Optum office in Centennial, Colorado, bringing the total number of layoffs to 500. 

The Colorado reduction had more to do with cost savings associated with exiting one of the buildings it occupied, than the Tricare contract, according to the Denver Business Journal. Some of the workers would be moved to other jobs or would be telecommuting, according to the report.

The Tricare contract was worth more than $17 billion over a five-year period to UnitedHealthcare, which had the contract since 2012.

In 2016, the United States Department of Defense reduced the number of Tricare regions to two, awarding UnitedHealthcare's west region contract to Health Net, which already had the northern region. Centene now owns Health Net.

Humana got the contract for the south and eastern regions.

UnitedHealth's contract with Tricare expires at the end of the year.

The insurer challenged the Defense Department decision with the Government Accountability Office. In November 2016, the GAO denied the bid, as well as others filed by health insurers cut out of the Defense Department's $58 billion in contracts, according to Federal News Radio.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com

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