Blue Shield of California lays off 140 employees

Blue Shield of California has reduced its staff by 140 employees, a spokesperson confirmed to Fierce Healthcare.

Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification filings submitted to the state said that the company would be laying off 165 employees by Jan. 31.

"The difference in number of employees listed is due to several factors, including employees finding other roles within Blue Shield of California or deciding to leave on their own for other opportunities outside of Blue Shield," a company spokesperson explained. "In this case, our employee support program helped more than 20 impacted employees find new roles within Blue Shield of California."

Workers in seven counties across California are affected, with the bulk of affected employees in Alameda and El Dorado Counties.

A similar round of layoffs was finalized in January 2023 when the nonprofit insurer laid off more than 370 workers in a nearly identical statement as provided to news outlets this week.

"As a nonprofit health plan, Blue Shield of California is driven by its mission to provide access to quality healthcare that's sustainably affordable for all," the company said. "This includes reducing administrative costs, operating efficiently and ensuring we have the right talent, skills and capabilities in place."

The affected employees will be allowed to stay on the job for up to 90 days while job searching with the support of a certified professional career coach, the company said.

Notably, Blue Shield of California said this round of layoffs affects approximately 2% of its 7,500 employee workforce.

In August, the company ended its traditional ties with its pharmacy benefit manager, CVS Health's Caremark in favor of partnering with Caremark, Amazon Pharmacy, Abarca, Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company and Prime Therapeutics under a new model. Their goal is to cut prescription drug costs by $500 million per year.

Last month Blue Shield of California disclosed its members were likely exposed to a data breach, though how many members were impacted was not disclosed.