CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee announced today that it will eliminate approximately 100 positions, or 2 percent of its current workforce across the state, in a cost-cutting measure. An additional 100 vacant positions will remain unfilled for 2013.

The eliminated positions range from jobs in the company’s operations center to posts in executive management. In total, 25 percent of affected positions are at the management level.

“Our sincere hope was to cut costs without impacting people, but this was a tough decision that we could not avoid,” said Bill Gracey, CEO-elect for BlueCross. “The health insurance industry is undergoing tremendous changes. It is growing more competitive by the day, and we are facing unprecedented challenges that require us to operate more efficiently.”

Those challenges include the Affordable Care Act’s medical loss ratio (MLR) restriction and new $200-million-plus annual excise tax that BlueCross will have to pay starting in 2014.

According to Gracey, BlueCross has responded by engaging in many initiatives to streamline processes, to innovate and find more efficient ways to fulfill its mission to its members, but these efforts have not been enough.

“Customers have to be able to afford our products, and we have to be able to operate within the new spending limits established by reform,” Gracey added. “We strongly believe we have a responsibility to operate more efficiently and control costs. All of the steps we’re taking are a necessary part of making BlueCross a stronger company, one that is better positioned to serve our members for years to come.”

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.