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Dozens to be laid off at Office of Group Benefits

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Posted: Jun 5, 2014 5:22 PM by Chris Nakamoto
Updated: Jun 5, 2014 6:54 PM
Source: WBRZ

  Rating: 0.0 (0 votes)

Topics: Group Benefits, Layoffs, Privatization, Blue Cross Blueshield, WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- Dozens of employees at the State Office of Group Benefits won't have a job by the end of the summer, as restructuring efforts call for the layoffs of at least 30 workers.

Employees who reached out to News 2 said they were told this week that 30-35 positions will be cut.

The Office of Group Benefits offers employees benefits packages to state workers. OGB used to manage nearly the health care plans for nearly 62,000 state workers and their dependents, but over the past two years there were massive layoffs as as health insurance for some state workers was outsourced to Blue Cross Blue Shield. The state says it saved nearly $20 million.

Privatizing the office led to massive cuts, and many questioned the decision.

Some of the employees at the Office of Group Benefits told News 2, it was an emotional week there. However, they were too afraid to go on camera in fear that they would be the first ones laid off.

In 2012 and 2013, 111 employees were laid off. If all goes as planned, the workers will find out in July who will get terminated.

The Office of Group Benefits released the following statement on the layoffs: "As of January 2013, OGB completed its movement of claims administration to a third-party administrator, streamlining operations and saving more than $40 million in administrative costs to date. The current reorganization plan is a continuation of those efforts and will lead to a reduction in positions. Some of these position reductions will be through retirements, and we will work with others to potentially find employment elsewhere at the Division of Administration. Affected employees will be informed in July and provided with at least six-weeks of notification. Resources will be available to assist impacted employees with the transition. Some of these position reductions will be through retirements, and we will work with others to potentially find employment elsewhere at the Division of Administration." - Susan West, OGB CEO

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