In an effort to reach its goal of aligning cost structure with its membership outlook for 2010, Aetna is reducing its workforce by approximately 625 positions. Aetna currently has approximately 35,500 employees. The company expects to incur a restructuring charge of approximately $40 million, after tax, as a result of the workforce reductions and ongoing real estate consolidation.

“The economic downturn has had a significant impact on our customers,” says Ronald Williams, Aetna chairman and CEO. “In addition, we must prepare for the impact that health care reform and regulatory changes may have on our business. Streamlining our business now will enable us to improve our competitiveness, and redirect resources to areas with a greater potential for future growth. Change is never easy but, working from a position of strength, we should be able to manage through the evolving environment.”

Aetna anticipates making a similar number of workforce reductions by the end of the first quarter 2010, and expects to disclose the financial impact of that action once decisions are finalized.

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.

The company says 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.

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