WPS Health Insurance is a name that many of you have likely not heard before in the past, so before we talk about the job cuts that the company is making lets begin by talking a bit about how the company has chosen to describe itself, “WPS Health Insurance has deep roots in Wisconsin grounded in events that occurred in the mid-1940s. It was a time when many people were having difficulty paying for necessary health care. In response, the State Medical Society developed a low-cost insurance product, called the Wisconsin Plan, which permitted Wisconsin residents to budget the costs of health care. In 1946, the Medical Society established Wisconsin Physicians Service (WPS) to market and administer the plan. More than 60 years later, affordable health care is still among people’s top concerns. WPS is at the forefront, offering flexible, cost-effective health plan solutions to the individual, small group, large group, and senior markets. We offer our members experience, stability, and the personalized service that has become our hallmark.”
Sadly the company is getting ready to cut back on about 600 members of its workforce in a bid to cut back on its job costs and make the company a leaner and more profitable machine. Job cuts of this scope are enough to qualify as a mass layoff action under the current federal guidelines, and that means some special rules apply. For those of you who are not familiar with the idea of a mass layoff action here is a look at how the federal government defines the term, “The Mass Layoff Statistics (MLS) program collects reports on mass layoff actions that result in workers being separated from their jobs. Monthly mass layoff numbers are from establishments which have at least 50 initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) filed against them during a 5-week period. Extended mass layoff numbers (issued quarterly) are from a subset of such establishments—where private sector nonfarm employers indicate that 50 or more workers were separated from their jobs for at least 31 days.” Under the terms of a mass layoff action the company must give several weeks of notice before they put the workers out of a job.
Interestingly the company’s most recent release was not about the job cuts, but instead about an executive promotion, “WPS Health Insurance, the leading not-for-profit provider of health insurance in Wisconsin and the state’s top provider of affordable individual health insurance, announced today that Tom Nelson has been promoted to chief financial officer effective October 1, 2012. Nelson replaced Bill Beisenstein, who retired from the company on September 28 after more than 24 years of service. Beisenstein oversaw all WPS accounting, treasury, and facility functions, as well as the accounting function of WPS subsidiaries, EPIC Life Insurance Company and WPS Health Plan, Inc. (Arise). He also oversaw all building and office service functions and had executive oversight of dental products and the partnership with Delta Dental of Wisconsin. Before joining WPS, Bill served 15 years with accounting firm Grant Thornton, eight as a partner. Bill also served for two years as a senior accountant with Touche Ross & Company.”
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