UnitedHealth denies ‘widespread’ layoffs, despite Ingenix signals

(Updated, 3:15 p.m. CST) UnitedHealthcare is denying reports that the company is laying off hundreds of workers, including at data-mining subsidiary Ingenix. “There is nothing widespread,” according to a company spokesperson.

Nothing officially has been announced, but there have been reports that many workers were informed yesterday that their services would no longer been needed. The company spokesperson says that UnitedHealth and its subsidiaries have 75,000 employees worldwide, and that hirings and dismissals happen all the time.

The news of possible layoffs came from someone claiming to be a displaced Ingenix worker. Ingenix gave preliminary confirmation of a downsizing, but referred me to UnitedHealth for details. The UnitedHealth spokesperson would not discuss staffing levels at Ingenix or any other subsidiary companies.

United did release its 10-K annual report for 2008 yesterday and hinted that cutbacks were in the offing:

“The improvement in Ingenix revenues was due to continued growth in its health intelligence and contract research businesses as well as from business acquisitions. The decrease in earnings from operations and operating margin was primarily due to excess staffing costs during 2008 for certain research projects which were cancelled, as well as lower demand for certain consulting services due to the current economic environment” (page 38).

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that excess staffing costs due to contract cancellations often lead to job cuts, but draw your own conclusions.