The wheels of health-care reform continue to turn, with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia saying Thursday it is adding 400 jobs in Columbus — on top of 200 announced in April — to handle an increasing workload.
The insurer said 350 more positions are being created in the Atlanta area as it prepares for new business starting Jan. 1. The company will provide third-party administrative and medical management services for the State Health Benefit Plan.
There are about 650,000 people enrolled statewide in various plans, including those covering state workers, teachers, public school employees and retirees.
“These are meaningful jobs with solid benefits that are putting people back to work and will lead to a stronger Blue Cross and Blue Shield and a healthier State of Georgia employee,” Morgan Kendrick, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia president, said in a statement.
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Company spokesman Bert Kelly said most of the Columbus jobs will be in the area of claims and customer service, with some staffers working “off premises” and away from the Blue Cross office complex on Warm Springs Road. Portable buildings have been set up on site for training, he said.
It was in April that Blue Cross unveiled plans to add more than 200 positions locally, with those specifically targeted for work with a health-care exchange.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — commonly referred to as “Obamacare” — requires every American to have health insurance or face a financial penalty. Residents in states not participating with their own exchange — such as in Georgia and Alabama — will be required to use a national exchange to comply with the mandate, if they can’t buy coverage on the open market. Subsidies and tax credits will be offered by the government to help those who need assistance.
In April, a Blue Cross executive said the insurer hopes to add a million new clients after the new coverage mandate begins. The company already insures about 2.4 million statewide.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia is part of Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc., a for-profit managed health care company that merged with Anthem Inc. a decade ago.
With the new jobs being created, the Blue Cross workforce should increase to roughly 1,800 locally. The new positions will include entry level and management jobs.
For more information or to apply, visit the company online at www.bcbsga.com, then click on “careers” at the bottom of the page.