Health insurer Highmark Inc. has been skinnying down, shedding 260 employees during the past month as the company adapts to a dynamic market.
“What’s driving it is the changing business environment, and it’s about building a high-performance culture,” spokesman Aaron Billger said Thursday. “This is part of our evolving business. The world is changing, and we have to change too.”
Highmark on Wednesday announced the furlough of 100 employees in its three-state service area. About half of the positions will be restructured, then filled again, Billger said.
Billger said he didn’t expect any big layoffs in the immediate future.
The company employs 37,000 people with 11,000 in health insurance and diversified businesses such as dental, vision and stop-loss insurance.
Shaping Highmark operations has been the development of a highly competitive health insurance market in the region, which has been driving down premiums. For example, UPMC, Highmark’s biggest health care and insurance competitor, reported virtually no operating margin for the year ending June 30, 2013, owing in part to intense competition in the insurance market.