A well-known insurance provider has cut insurance jobs in Rhode Island.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island recently announced its plan to cut 74 positions throughout the company, 41 through layoffs and the remainder by not filling vacancies. The positions to be cut include everything from management personnel to rank-and-file employees. According to an article by the Providence Business News, the company currently employs about 1,160 workers.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield is the state’s largest health insurer and covers more than 680,000 people. One reason for the cuts may be that healthcare network Care New England has decided to switch its employee healthccare coverage to Tufts Health Plan, a rival of Blue Cross.
“The decision to cut positions and lay off some of our employees saddens me greatly,” James E. Purcell, Blue Cross president and CEO said in the article. “In light of the current economic conditions, and as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to provide Rhode Islanders with access to high-quality and affordable health insurance, it was necessary for us to reduce our operating expenses.
“Despite these operational changes, BCBSRI continues to employ more than 1,000 local employees who will continue to provide superb service to all who depend on us, including members, customers and stakeholders,” Purcell continued, adding that the company will provide assistance to any and all workers losing their jobs.
As of September, Rhode Island had the highest unemployment rate in the country, at 8.8 percent, up from 8.6 percent in August. The state had a total non-farm employment of 478,200 workers during September, according to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is down from 479,500 jobs during August, and a decrease of 2.6 percent from last year.