Business

Anthem adding 450 employees at its BlueCross BlueShield complex in Columbus

BY TONY ADAMS

tadams@ledger-enquirer.com

About 200 BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia employees and guests attended the Sept. 2, 2015, grand opening of the new Columbus location on Technology Parkway. The state-of-the-art facility is energy efficient, employee friendly and can accommodate up to 2,000 employees.
About 200 BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia employees and guests attended the Sept. 2, 2015, grand opening of the new Columbus location on Technology Parkway. The state-of-the-art facility is energy efficient, employee friendly and can accommodate up to 2,000 employees. rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com

Health-care insurer Anthem plans to add 450 employees at its BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia office complex in the Midland area of Columbus by the end of 2017, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s office said Tuesday.

The expansion comes with a capital investment of more than $3 million, with the new staffing on top of the 1,285 workers already earning a paycheck at the Columbus “Customer Care Center” in Muscogee Technology Park.

“Anthem’s decision to expand in Columbus speaks to the strength and vitality of Georgia’s business-friendly environment,” Deal said in a statement. “This expansion further bolsters Georgia’s reputation as the nation’s top destination for health IT companies.”

After the 450 employees are added in Columbus, Anthem will have about 4,500 workers altogether in Georgia. Indianapolis-based Anthem Inc. is the parent company of BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia. It was known as WellPoint prior to Anthem.

BlueCross held the grand opening of its 235,000-square-foot structure at 6087 Technology Parkway in Columbus last September. It relocated from its aging office complex at 2357 Warm Springs Road, space it had occupied since 1958, including several expansions. The Molasky Group of Companies, with offices in Atlanta and Las Vegas, developed the new office space for the health insurer, which is leasing it long term.

Jose Tomas, Anthems’s executive vice president and chief human resources officer, in a statement reaffirmed the firm’s commitment to Georgia, pointing to the new office complex and the 450 jobs that will be filled as the current expansion unfolds. No timeline for hiring has been released.

(Click here for jobs with Anthem/BlueCross and Blue Shield)

The Columbus center operates as a call center, handling claims processing, enrollment, billing, information technology and other services.

Brian Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, noted his organization has been working actively with Anthem since 2013 on several projects, including the Midland complex. He applauded the addition of jobs, money being spent on the latest expansion by the insurer, and its “long-term commitment to Columbus.”

The news of the BlueCross BlueShield expansion comes the same day as Miami, Fla.-based Road America said it is closing its Victory Drive call center by this summer, with at least 200 fulltime workers losing their jobs.

Anthem’s move also follows the elimination of a combat brigade at Fort Benning, with the post losing at least 2,200 soldiers and an undetermined number of civilian workers. A University of Georgia economist forecast last week that the loss of the troops will ripple throughout the Columbus area in the coming months, with a net loss of 1,000 jobs for 2016 and a population trending lower.

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