1. Business

WellCare Health Plans lays off 150, including 100 in Tampa Bay

About 100 Tampa Bay area employees are among 150 being laid off by WellCare Health Plans, the Tampa-based managed care provider has confirmed.

The layoffs, which translate to about 3 percent of WellCare's workforce, involve streamlining several departments "in order to adapt to the changing conditions and requirements of federal and state government programs," WellCare spokesman Jack Maurer said.

"While letting go of good people is never pleasant, the company's management is confident that by making these difficult decisions, we will reduce costs and ensure the company's success going forward," he added.

About 115 of the affected jobs are in Florida. But that loss will be more than offset as the company expects to add nearly 500 jobs statewide based on potential contract awards with Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration as part of the state's Managed Medical Assistance program.

Maurer stressed that the new jobs are "completely different positions than those eliminated today."

And as WellCare continues to expand other businesses across the country, it anticipates it will continue to add jobs at its Tampa base.

WellCare had been growing quickly, with its Tampa headquarters alone swelling to about 3,000 workers, up 12 percent in the first half of 2013.