More than 100 Highmark employees ‘displaced’

PARKERSBURG- A number of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield employees are being “displaced,” but it is not certain how many might be from the Parkersburg office.

“Today just over 100 employees (some 16 in West Virginia) were displaced in a variety of health plan operations areas as a result of streamlining operations to better serve customers,” Highmark West Virginia President Fred Earley said in a prepared statement released Wednesday.

”More than half of these positions will be reestablished as new jobs to meet our growing business needs,” Earley said.

Earley could not be reached for further comment Wednesday evening.

When asked to clarify aspects of the statement, Stacy M. Deel, a public relations analyst with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia, said in an email Wednesday’s displacement affected slightly more than 100 employees in the health plan operations area with 16 being in West Virginia.

Deel, when asked, did not say whether the employees were laid off, furloughed or being transferred.

Questions to company officials included how many employees in the Parkersburg Highmark office might be affected; if more than half of the positions being reestablished were part of the 100 total being affected or the 16 from West Virginia alone; or if any of the affected employees might be asked to come back once the positions were reestablished. Whether the company was going through a restructuring plan also was asked.

”No further information is available,” Deel said.

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia serves approximately 300,000 customers through the company’s health care benefits business and also serves tens of thousands of additional members through the BlueCard program, according to the company’s website. Highmark West Virginia employs approximately 800 people in Parkersburg, Charleston and Wheeling.

Highmark also has offices in Delaware and Pennsylvania. The company has more than 20,000 total employees and is the fourth-largest Blue Cross and Blue Shield-affiliated company, the website said.

The company serves 33.5 million people across the United States through its businesses in health insurance, dental insurance, vision care and information technology.