Humana is adding hundreds of jobs to its Tampa Bay area operations, underscoring that health care remains one of the most resilient parts of the battered economy.
Humana on Tuesday said it is hiring a "couple dozen" registered nurses, social workers, community health educators and other support staff as part of a 275-employee Humana Cares national operations and service center opening in St. Petersburg.
By the end of 2009, Humana plans to expand staff at the center in Carillon business park to more than 325. A grand opening is slated for Tuesday.
Many of the initial 275 jobs have been filled, Humana spokesman Mitch Lubitz said Tuesday, with 100 people hired since last fall. To get a job application, go to www. humana.com and click on "Careers."
As reports of layoffs pile up, a need for health care workers has remained resilient. Career information consultant Laurence Shatkin includes registered nurses and physical therapists in the Top 10 in his book, 150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs.
Including the Humana Cares addition, Humana employs more than 1,600 people in the bay area. About 1,000 of them work at its national Medicare marketing and customer service call centers in East Tampa.
At its new St. Petersburg center, Humana workers are offering health coaching, education and other support over the phone for some 30,000 Humana Medicare, low-income, disabled and Medicare-Medicaid dual-eligible members nationally. The company said its Humana Cares clients are primarily Medicare beneficiaries with chronic health conditions, including diabetes, congestive heart failure, cancer and Alzheimer's, as well as members with such diseases as rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis.
Humana is Florida's largest Medicare health-benefits company with more than 400,000 members statewide.