Pointing to COVID-19’s impacts on both the economy and its customers, Mountlake Terrace-based Premera Blue Cross confirmed Monday that it will be eliminating approximately 285 “non-customer-facing” positions- — about 8% of its workforce — this week.
The health insurance company, with 3,442 employees. is headquartered in Mountlake Terrace, but also has a North Creek campus in Bothell, as well as offices in Anchorage and Spokane.
“While Premera remains strong financially, we recognize the tremendous toll the global pandemic has taken on the economy and many of our group and individual customers,” Premera spokesperson Dani Chung said in a statement Monday afternoon. “Now, more than ever, affordability is the number-one barrier to receiving high-quality care and we must do all that we can to reduce our costs and pass those savings onto our customers.”
The company has “pledged to do all that we can to help employees through this difficult transition, including offering generous severance packages and access to company-funded out placement services,” Chung added. While employees were told Monday there would be layoffs, individual employees will be notified of their status this week.
Since the pandemic began, she said, Premera has continued to “do the right thing bu our customers and by the communities where we live and work,” incluing providing “more than $100 million in advance payments to doctors and hospitals to help them keep the doors open during the lockdown, more than $65 million in premium relief and rebates to our customers and $5 million to local nonprofits to address issues of health equity and social justice.”
Most of Premera’s employees are working from home due to the pandemic, Chung said.
— By Teresa Wippel