Highmark sending work to India, seeking buyouts
Top Pittsburgh health insurer Highmark Inc. has notified employees that it will be off-shoring some of its technology work to India, and is simultaneously asking for buyouts among its tech workers and analysts...We anticipate this new [India Delivery Center] contract will not only provide additional flexibility in adding or reassigning staff, but more importantly help keep our projects within budget," a Highmark official said, in an announcement on the company's intranet site...
The move rubs many the wrong way in that Highmark is paying overseas workers with premium money that largely comes from Pennsylvania companies and policyholders, and also from American taxpayers, since so much of Highmark's business is tied to Medicare, Medicaid and military benefits.
From former Blue Cross employee The Yonk:
Highmark and the Blues aren’t just any insurance company. They are home town products with member dues that come from employers, employees of those companies, senior citizens who buy Medicare Supplement plans as well as working people who buy individual plans. All of that money comes from Pennsylvania taxpayers.
Here’s a key paragraph in the story that sums it up:
As a homegrown nonprofit that operates at the pleasure of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and the state Insurance Department, Highmark and other Blues claim a charitable mission and, in return for that charitable work, receive a variety of tax breaks from the state and the city. People outside the company, as well as inside, question sending work -- and, in effect, jobs -- to India.
I asked 120th State Rep Phyllis Mundy, who is a big favotite in the Blue Cross board room, for her take:
Well, so much for the Blues' "Social Mission" unless they believe that social mission should extend to India.
Honestly, Gort, sometimes it overwhelms me. So many issues and problems. One step forward and two steps back.
I will check with the Insurance Commissioner and the House Insurance staff as to what, if anything, can be done.
Perhaps the only real solution is to make the Blues go for profit and take away their tax exemption. At least then the 2% premium tax could be put toward a