November 18, 2009 | last updated May 26, 2012 9:14 am

Aetna to layoff over 1,000 workers

Aetna today announced that it is laying off about 1,250 people by the end of the first quarter 2010, including 160 immediate cuts in Connecticut.

The company said the workforce reduction is a result of declining enrollments caused by the economic downturn, as well as the threat of health care reform and regulatory changes being proposed by the federal government.

"Streamlining our business now will enable us to improve our competitiveness and redirect resources to areas with a greater potential for future growth," said Ronald A. Williams, chairman and CEO of Aetna. "Change is never easy but, working from a position of strength, we should be able to manage through the evolving environment,"

Aetna currently has about 35,500 employees, including more than 7,000 in Connecticut. The company expects to incur a restructuring charge of approximately $40 million, after tax, as a result of the layoffs and ongoing real estate consolidation.

Aetna will layoff 625 employees now, and then a similar amount by the end of the first quarter 2010.

The company said these decisions are designed to ensure Aetna's ability to meet its service and quality commitments to customers, members and other constituents. Eligible employees will receive severance benefits based on length of service as well as outplacement and other support programs.

In addition to making workforce reductions, the company expects to consolidate field offices in some locations in order to reduce real estate costs. The company is not exiting any markets as a result of this announcement.

Fred Laberge, a spokesman for Aetna, noted that before the economic downturn hit, the company added 5,700 jobs from March 2007 to Sept. 2008.

"We were growing as membership was growing," said Laberge, who added that insurance market reform will put pressure on the company's profit margins.

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