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Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota lays off 63 workers

FARGO - Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota today notified 63 employees they will be laid off.

In a statement, the Blues said six employees were done today, with official end dates of Dec. 6. They received severance pay.

The remaining 57 employees have staggered end dates through next May. They also will receive severance pay.

The 2011 budget will reduce 120 positions, 57 that were eliminated through attrition and reorganization, and the 63 whose terminations were announced today.

The 63 layoffs equal about 7 percent of the Blues' work force and will save about $3 million in future salaries, although $875,000 will be paid in one-time severance.

The health insurance firm has been under pressure from customers to cut costs. Previously, administrators said they would gain efficiencies by not filling many vacancies and boosting productivity.

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.