Even as it cuts jobs elsewhere, health insurer Humana is expanding its St. Petersburg outreach program for the chronically ill. Again.
Humana said Tuesday that it wants to hire 140 workers for Humana Cares, bringing the operation's employment to 500.
The center provides personalized health coaching via telephone, care management, and health education and support to nearly 50,000 Humana members nationally. On-the-ground care management is offered to Humana members in 24 states.
Among the new hires would be health care managers, community health educators, field care managers and health coaches. Some of them will work at the center, some from home and some as field agents.
Since opening at the Carillon business park in St. Petersburg a year ago, Humana Cares has expanded from about 250 employees to 350 today.
"We're growing faster than originally thought," said Humana spokesman Mitch Lubitz, attributing the growth to the operation's expanded mission.
Originally, Humana Cares was strictly for Medicare Advantage members. It expanded to include commercial members and Medicare/Medicaid dual-eligible workers. It now also caters to a third group: members who have retired and their former employers are still paying for their Medicare coverage.
With a large call center at NetPark in Tampa and other operations here, Humana's Tampa Bay area work force now tops 2,000.
The growth spurt at Humana Cares, however, comes as Florida's largest Medicare health benefits provider is cutting elsewhere.
An unspecified number of other bay area Humana employees are being laid off this year as part of a corporatewide, net reduction of 5 percent.
Lubitz could not say how many of the estimated 1,650 bay area workers who aren't part of Humana Cares would lose their jobs. But he said the company projects a statewide net loss of about 50 jobs this year, including the impact of Humana Cares' expansion.
Jeff Harrington can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8242.