From: Columbus Business First

A change in contractors handling Medicare claims in the state could put as many as 97 Ohio workers at a Blue Cross and Blue Shield subsidiary out of a job, including 92 employees in Columbus.

Palmetto GBA LLC, a Medicare contractor and unit of Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, told the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services that 92 of the 290 employees at its Easton Way offices will be cut loose June 17. Billy Quarles, a spokesman for Blue Cross, said five of the 92 workers at an office in Wheelersburg, east of Portsmouth, will be cut the same day.

“We hope to find other positions within the company prior to that date … to get the number lower than 97,” Quarles said.

The job cuts come as Palmetto ends its run processing claims and payments for Medicare Part B – the federally funded coverage for physician, outpatient and home-health care – in the region that includes Ohio. Competitive bidding phased in through contracting reforms under the Medicare Administrative Contractor system will see Cigna Government Services of Nashville, Tenn., taking over that work, Quarles said.

The remaining 285 Palmetto employees in the state will continue to process Medicare claims and payments under contracts for other jurisdictions, he said.