Minnesota Blue Cross plans 450 job cuts through 2019

Updated: 5:06 p.m. | Posted: 4:08 p.m.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota will cut around 450 positions over the next four years with losses coming in information technology, the state's largest insurer said Tuesday.

Those job cuts will be made gradually, from 2016 through 2019, in order to make the reductions transparent and predictable to employees, the company said in a statement. Blue Cross employs about 3,500 people throughout Minnesota, so the cuts represent about 13 percent of the current workforce.

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The company said it is working with employees who will be affected. Some will be asked to stay on for extended periods of time to finish current projects and others will receive opportunities for training to pursue other positions in the company.

The nonprofit health care company said the cuts are coming as Blue Cross transitions to more efficient, flexible technology platforms.

Employees were told Monday afternoon.

The company said in a statement, "We are decommissioning many of our older IT systems, which will result in the associated work not being part of the updated technology platform."

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota confirmed it has about 3,500 employees overall, and has 600 employees in IT.

State Labor Market Economist Steve Hine says the market is in good shape to absorb the layoffs and give job opportunities to those affected.

"I would say that much like the Target situation that people with skills and qualifications that are in demand — people with that kind of skill set are generally not going to have a very hard time gaining re-employment," Hine said.