Hiring will start late this year for 100 jobs at PGBA in Surfside Beach after the company landed a new contract.
PGBA, a subsidiary of BlueCross and BlueShield of South Carolina, will handle work on the 21-state west region for Tricare, a military health care program for active duty and retired service members and their families. PGBA also handles the south and the north regions for Tricare.
The new contract will create 615 jobs in South Carolina, with Florence picking up the most, 445 jobs. Another 45 will be created in Columbia and 25 in Camden, said Elizabeth Hammond, spokeswoman for Blue Cross Blue Shield. The contract includes a transition period and five one-year option periods beginning on April 1.
“That’s a very sizeable hire,” Hammond said.
The new workers in Surfside Beach will process health care claims and provide customer service through the new contract. Hammond didn’t have more details about job qualifications or salaries.
The jobs will be posted on the company’s website, www.southcarolinablues.com, when hiring begins.
BlueCross BlueShield, which is based in Florence, has 2,100 employees statewide, with 800 of them at PGBA in Surfside Beach.
It took several years and several appeals for PGBA to get this contract with prime contractor United Health Military and Veteran’s Services, UHMVS.
The contract was initially awarded to Phoenix-based TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp. Triwest held the contract since 1996, but UMHVS, which also bid, launched an agency level protest with the Tricare Management Activity regarding its decision to TriWest for the west region.
In July 2009, the TMA decided to re-evaluate the award, but was delayed by a pending resolution on an appeal in the South region where Humana Military Healthcare Services appealed and sustained its contract award against UMHVS (primary contractors can only be awarded one region).
In April 2011, the TMA updated its original request for proposals between TriWest and UHMVS. After almost a year, the TMA announced it would award the Tricare West contract to UHMVS, reversing its original decision. Ten days after the announcement in March, TriWest filed a protest with the TMA and Government Accountability Office (GAO). After months of arbitration, the GAO upheld the West award to UHMVS, bringing years of waiting to an end for PGBA president Mike Skarupa and others at the company.
“It's been a long and complex and difficult procurement that started (with bidding) in March 2008 and we've been in this status for a little over three years, so we're delighted with the final outcome and look forward to serving those 2.9 million beneficiaries in West region,” Skarupa said Thursday. “And credit goes to our employees because of the excellent service they deliver over a three-year period.”
The Florence Morning News contributed to this report.
Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296 or at email@example.com or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_dawnbryant.