President Barack Obama’s health care reform is unpopular in parts of Missouri, but it is bringing 600 new jobs to the state.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Virginia-based government contractor Serco Inc. will hire 600 people over the next three months for a processing center in Wentzville, handling applications for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Serco closed a deal last week to lease much of the old US Fidelis call center in Wentzville, a St. Charles County town about 40 miles from St. Louis. The center is expected to be operational by Nov. 1.
“We are working a very tight quick turnaround,” said Shaveta Joshi, a benefits and compensation manager with Serco.
Wentzville is one of three sites the company chose under a contract awarded in July from the Department of Health and Human Services. Centers are also planned in Arkansas and Kentucky.
The federal contract calls for Serco to process, review and troubleshoot applications for the state health insurance exchanges that are launching Oct. 1. The company will also provide records management and verification support.
Joshi said Serco was drawn to the St. Louis region by its growth potential and the high number of college graduates.
The new jobs will start at $12 an hour, though higher-skilled positions will pay more, and all the jobs include benefits. Serco is advertising jobs on its website and plans a job fair the week of Sept. 23.
Serco is not applying for any state or local tax incentives.
Wentzville officials met on Aug. 20 with Serco to start working out details.
“We came together to help them get their facility together, to get ready to roll, to set up for job interviews,” said Rick Stokes, president of the Wentzville Board of Aldermen. “You don’t get this kind of news every day.”
The building has sat largely empty since US Fidelis collapsed amid fraud charges in 2009.