BlueCross BlueShield is laying off almost 240 employees between Surfside Beach and Florence due to a lost contract with Veterans Administration Choice, a community care program paid for by the Veterans Affairs office.
The layoffs affect Palmetto Government Benefits Administrators, a subsidiary that handles government contracts, including workers for Veterans Administration Choice, TRICARE, a health care program, and other medical positions.
“PGBA will continue to provide excellent service to its customers while looking for more contract opportunities,” said Shawn Skillman, senior media relations strategist for BlueCross BlueShield.
The layoffs, which were announced Aug. 31, will not affect the services provided at the Surfside Beach location, Skillman said, and the building will remain open. The Surfside Beach BlueCross BlueShield building is located at 8700 U.S. 17 Bypass.
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Skillman said a total number of layoffs is not yet available because some positions will be vacated by retirement and attrition. Layoffs started in September and will continue through the end of the year.
“These actions are always difficult, but we have a number of outstanding bids and remain focused on the future,” President and Chief Operating Office of PGBA Mike Skarupa said in a news release. “While disappointing, scaling workforce to workload is a well-known challenge in providing contractual services for the federal government.”
A BlueCross BlueShield office is located in Myrtle Beach at 2411 North Oak St.
At the intersection of Howard Avenue and Airpark Drive in Myrtle Beach, a new VA office is set to break ground.
In October, the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center was granted leases in Myrtle Beach and Charleston, allowing a consolidated facility for outpatient care in Myrtle Beach, according to a release from Tonya Lobbestael, spokesperson for the Ralph H. Johnson VAMC.
Construction is scheduled to begin in 2019, located off of Farrow Parkway near The Market Common and Myrtle Beach International Airport.