Chicago-based Health Care Service Corporation, the parent company of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, is eliminating about 400 jobs, most of them in middle management, according to a company spokesman.
HCSC is reducing the ranks of its workforce to "best serve our customers now and into the future of the rapidly changing healthcare landscape," said spokesman Greg Thompson in a statement.
WHAT'S THE IMPACT
HCSC employs about 24,000 people across five states: Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
According to Thompson, the company is "rebalancing our resources to meet the diverse needs of our customers, provider partners and other stakeholders." While declining to provide a detailed breakdown of where the job cuts will occur, Thompson said the positions are being eliminated "to reduce organizational redundancy and improve decision making efficiency."
This year, HCSC plans to add about 1,000 new jobs primarily in customer and provider service, technology and digital capabilities. There are no further workforce reductions planned, Thompson said.
With upwards of 8.5 million members, Blue Cross Blue Shield is the dominant health insurer of Illinois. According to the Chicago Tribune, HCSC banked a profit of $4.1 billion in 2018, $1.7 billion of which was given back by the federal government due to changes under the new tax law.
THE LARGER TREND
HCSC also laid off dozens of middle management employees in December, the Tribune reported. Those layoffs totaled in "the few dozens."
Almost exactly one year ago, HCSC announced it was partnering with Aetna, Anthem, IBM and PNC Bank to create a blockchain technology network aimed at improving transparency and interoperability in the healthcare industry. The groups said they intend to use blockchain for more efficient claims and payment processing. Blockchain enables the secure exchange of information and results in more accurate provider directories.