UCare cuts 245 jobs after losing state health insurance contract


The health insurance provider UCare announced Monday it's laying off 200 people and buying out the contracts of another 45 employees after losing out on state contracts to cover Minnesotans enrolled in public health insurance programs next year.

That amounts to a 27 percent cut in its workforce, the Minneapolis-based company said in an emailed statement.

UCare currently has 833 employees and another 112 open positions. After the cuts, that number will be about 580.

“Every UCare employee is a valued employee," said Jim Eppel, President and CEO, UCare, in the statement. "This has been a very difficult process for all of us across the organization.”

The company said it will provide the affected employees with assistance in finding new jobs.

Lost out on 2016 state contract

Under the bidding process used for the first time this year, Blue Cross Blue Shield won state contracts to provide health care through MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance in the bulk of Minnesota’s counties. Health Partners and Medica were awarded the rest.

UCare's bid was rejected outright, except in Olmsted County where local officials appealed the decision.

That means some 350,000 people who are insured through U Care this year must switch to other carriers for 2016.

UCare had argued in a lawsuit it filed against the state that it was unfairly excluded during the state's bidding process. But it decided to drop the lawsuit last week and the job cuts followed.

State officials maintain the bidding process they used was fair and saved taxpayers money.

According to the Star Tribune, the state contract accounted for about half of the company's $3 billion revenue in 2014.

UCare continues to sell health coverage through MNsure and Medicare, according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

UCare said it will have about 135,000 enrollees in its health care plans in 2016.

Next Up

vote, vote now

MN Supreme Court dismisses attempt to block election certification

Another legal defeat for Republicans challenging the election.

prison, Rush City cell block

Another Minnesota prison inmate dies after COVID-19 diagnosis

The virus has killed at least six Minnesota inmates.

leech lake band of ojibwe sign

11,760 acres of land wrongly taken from Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe will be returned

The Senate and now the House have passed a bill that effectively returns the land. It's now headed for the president's signature.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves release first half of 2020-21 regular season schedule

The second half of the schedule will be announced at a later date.

reindeer como zoo

Watch live: Como Zoo's live reindeer cam is back for December

The live feed will run 24/7 allowing you to keep an eye on Santa's antlered helpers.


Three simple ways to boost your immune health heading into winter

Eating right is one thing, but there are other ways to stay healthy as the days shorten.

Taylor Rogers

Why Twins fans shouldn't give up on Taylor Rogers

The Twins closer struggled in 2020 but could rebound next season.

Co. Rd. 2 crash, Wakefield Twp.

Teen driver leaves road, crashes into three trees

Fortunately, the 16-year-old was not injured.

mndot deer  tunnel 1

Minnesota is getting its first highway crossing for animals

This will provide a safe way for animals to cross the street, and hopefully limit deer-vehicle collisions.