Hundreds of Riverview call center workers to be laid off as Obamacare open enrollment ends

Published March 8, 2014

A unit of General Dynamics guiding people to enroll through Obamacare's new Health Insurance Marketplace is ramping down, triggering the layoff of 305 seasonal workers at a Riverview call center, along with 726 workers at a center in Florida's Panhandle.

The cuts will take place in early May, according to separate mass layoff notices filed with the state. The Riverview cutback was detailed in a filing Friday while the cuts at a Lynn Haven site in the Panhandle were disclosed a week ago.

A spokesman for General Dynamics Information Technology, which had a government contract to sign up Americans for new health care coverage, referred all questions Friday to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid.

A CMS representative said call centers operated by contractors like General Dynamics "will be ramping down much of their activities" with the end of open enrollment through the health insurance exchange. Because the enrollment period lasted for a limited time — consumers could shop for health coverage between October 2013 and March 2014 — the contracts were seasonal in nature as well.

"Similar to our Medicare call line, the call center will staff up and down over the year to meet consumer demand and maximize operational efficiency," CMS said in a statement responding to queries. "As such, our contractors are notifying their seasonal employees of this fact through WARN Act notices, as required by law."

Under the Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification (WARN) Act, employers have to give public notice for plant closings and sizeable layoffs.

Anyone with coverage questions outside of open enrollment will still have round-the-clock access to help through the government-sponsored call center at 1-800-318-2596, according to the agency.