RALEIGH, NC - North Carolina's largest health insurance company is laying off 165 employees.
A representative with Blue Cross and Blue Shield told WFMY News 2 they are eliminating jobs in Durham, Fayetteville and Winston-Salem.
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The Durham insurance company had increased customer-service staff last fall after being fined $3.6 million by the state for widespread problems during open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act.
Ryan Vulcan with Blue Cross and Blue Shield said,
To provide a great customer experience, we roughly tripled the number of people taking calls. For our open enrollment period in 2017, we grew to a force of 1,600 customer service professionals, including employees, contractors and vendor support.
The state department of insurance imposed the fine after thousands of customers complained of billing and enrollment mistakes and hours of waiting on hold for a customer service representative.
Blue Cross spokeswoman Ryan Vulcan said the company wanted to beef up staff for this year's open enrollment period.
She says the company is returning to normal staffing for current customers.
"We deeply regret having to eliminate any positions," said Vulcan, "but our call volume does not justify our current staffing levels."
Vulcan said the employees are eligible for severance pay.
© 2017 Associated Press