Health insurance giant United Health Group will open a service center at the University of Arizona’s Tech Park for its OptumRx pharmacy benefit subsidiary and hire at least 400 people to staff it.
Officials were to make the announcement Thursday at an 80,000 square-foot facility under construction at the Tech Park, 9040 S. Rita Road. Those scheduled to be in attendance included United Health Group CEO Stephen J. Hemsley, OptumRx CEO Dirk McMahon and Gov. Jan Brewer.
OptumRx is currently the fourth-largest pharmacy benefits manager in the U.S., serving 13 million member fulfilling 370 million prescriptions per year.
Plans are for the facility to be ready this summer and to have it fully staffed in about 18 months. The average minimum salary for the new jobs is estimated at $37,000 annually. OptumRx will lease the facility from the Tech Park.
Company officials said Tucson was selected because of its diverse workforce and favorable regulatory climate as well as its proximity to the University of Arizona pharmacy school.
The company also will receive a $200,000 state grant as part of the Arizona Commerce Authority’s “deal closing” fund. Company officials plan to leave the money in escrow account for five years to demonstrate its commitment to remaining in the area. To receive the money, grant requirements stipulate that companies pay average minimum salaries and make a five-year commitment to the region.
United Health Group has been on a hiring spree nationwide. During the past five years, the company has created 40,000 jobs, according Matt Stearns, a spokesman for the company. It currently employs 100,000, with more than 2,800 in Arizona.
On March 16, the Department of Defense awarded the Tricare Managed Care Support contract for members of the military United Health Military & Veterans Services, another United Health Group subsidiary. The five-year contract service 2.9 million members is valued at $20.5 billion.