Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is eliminating 40 jobs, primarily in claims processing, at locations in the Iron Range communities of Aurora and Virgina.

Eagan-based Blue Cross, which is the state's largest nonprofit health insurer, said the move was not related to recent operating performance.

"They are part of our broader efforts to enable future innovation and growth by centralizing and redeploying resources," a Blue Cross spokesman said via e-mail. A company statement added: "By centralizing resources and staffing levels around key strategic priorities, Blue Cross is well-positioned to deliver solutions that can generate the best health experiences for our nearly three million members."

Through the first three quarters of 2018, the fully-insured health insurance and HMO businesses at Blue Cross posted $106.2 million in operating income on $4.8 billion in revenue, according to a Star Tribune analysis of regulatory data. The financial results were better than the same period in 2017.

For 2019, Blue Cross has seen a decline in its market share for products sold to Medicare enrollees, due in part to the elimination of Medicare Cost health plans across most of Minnesota.

"The 40 impacted associates would be eligible to apply for newly created positions later this year," Blue Cross said in a statement. "We are planning to add approximately 60 new positions through 2019."

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