A unit of health insurance giant UnitedHealth Group plans to hire more than 200 by April 1 for a call center it plans to open this month in northern Colorado Springs to handle enrollment, medical referrals and answer questions for Tricare beneficiaries in 21 Western states.
UnitedHealthcare Military and Veterans is hosting a job fair Monday and Tuesday at the center, 9945 Federal Drive, to hire 100 customer service representatives who will handle enrollments beginning Feb. 15 from active-duty military, reservists, retirees, veterans and their families. The Minneapolis-based company already employs 26 working from their homes or other UnitedHealth offices around the state and plans to expand the center to 240 full-time employees by the time it takes over the 21-state western region Tricare contract, said UnitedHealth spokesman Bruce Jasurda.
UnitedHealth won a six-year $20.5 billion contract in March to administer health care benefits for 2.9 million Tricare beneficiaries in 21 states stretching from Minnesota and Missouri to Alaska and Hawaii that begins April 1. The contract has been held for 16 years by Phoenix-based TriWest Healthcare Alliance. Jasurda said UnitedHealth has hired some of the 125 workers at TriWest’s call center in the Springs as well as employees at other TriWest offices on military bases in the 21 states and may hire other TriWest employees as the center ramps up operations.
UnitedHealth Military and Veterans also is opening a 600-person call center in Phoenix to provide services under the contract, Jasurda said. Workers at both centers will handle benefit and eligibility information, billing and payment issues, requests for materials, physician assignments, treatment authorizations and claims paperwork. The company is seeking workers who are U.S. citizens with a high school diploma or equivalent or 10 years of work experience and one year of customer service of office experience working on telephones.
TriWest has offered retention payments to keep employees until its contract ends March 31 and will pay severance and offer outplacement help to employees after the center closes, TriWest spokesman Scott Celley said.
UnitedHealth won a contract in 2009 for Tricare’s south region, but contract holder Humana filed a successful protest. TriWest won the Western region contract in 2009, but UnitedHealth protested that award and the contract eventually was rebid last year. TriWest unsuccessfully protested the award to UnitedHealth.
United is the nation’s largest health insurer, providing benefits to more than 38 million people nationwide.
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