Blue Cross to lay off 80 to 90 workers

Posted August 12, 2010 2:15 p.m. EDT

— Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina officials said Thursday that they would lay off 80 to 90 data entry clerks and support personnel over the next nine months to cut costs.

The work will be turned over to Sourcecorp., a Dallas-based firm that handles records management, business processing and other functions for about 4,100 firms, including 14 health plans.

Blue Cross officials said the move would save the insurer about $1.6 million to $2.1 million in administrative costs.

"This is a difficult decision that will affect good employees whom we care about," Blue Cross President and Chief Executive Brad Wilson said in a statement. "It is part of our ongoing work to reduce our costs to keep premiums as affordable as possible for our customers and to remain competitive as a company."

Blue Cross plans to reduce operating costs by 20 percent by 2014, officials said.

The work being outsourced will be done by Sourcecorp employees in North Carolina and the Philippines, officials said. Data entry work for the State Health Plan will remain in North Carolina, they said.

As a U.S.-based company, Sourcecorp is subject to federal security and privacy regulations, officials said. Blue Cross required the company to meet extensive data protection standards before being awarded the contract, they said.

Most of the Blue Cross jobs will be eliminated next year, officials said. None involves customer service calls or direct contact with Blue Cross customers, they said.

Affected employees will be eligible to receive severance pay, continued health benefits for a specified period of time and outplacement assistance, officials said.