A California health care company plans to hire more workers at its newly opened North Charleston office, on top of the 125 it's already brought on board.
Molina Healthcare opened its South Carolina headquarters in Faber Pointe near Interstate 562 and Leeds Avenue on Tuesday.
Molina Healthcare is the newest of six companies that the state Medicaid agency has contracts with to provide managed care plans for Medicaid beneficiaries. Medicaid is the low-income health insurance program that's paid for with state and federal funds.
The majority of its local employees work at the North Charleston outpost at 4105 Faber Place Drive, which houses a call center, customer service representatives, case managers and a clinical organization.
Some case managers will serve in other parts of the state, according to Tom Lindquist, president of Molina Healthcare of South Carolina.
Tuesday's ribbon-cutting ceremony included CEO Dr. J. Mario Molina and Gov. Nikki Haley.
Molina said his Long Beach, Calif.-based company plans to fill 25 more positions in early 2014.
"We felt that Charleston had a good labor market, and it was a good place for us to do business," he said. "The people we have gotten here are bright, kind, hard-working, and we really couldn't ask for a better employee base."
Molina Healthcare acquired assets in South Carolina previously owned by Community Health Solutions of America Inc., which Molina converted into a health maintenance organization.
South Carolina is now the 11th state served by the company's managed care plans.
Health coverage will be offered to Medicaid beneficiaries starting Jan. 1. The company will serve about 140,000 low-income individuals across the state.
About a million South Carolinians are enrolled in the Medicaid program, and more than half of them are children.
"We are celebrating, yes, 150 jobs, but it's more than that, because what they're going to do is help us take care of those we're desperately trying to take care of," Haley said. "We are looking at our rural areas and we want to lift them up, and help them do for themselves. ... Molina is going to help us do that."
The cmpany moved into a 40,000-square-foot block of office space in Faber Pointe that the College of Charleston was eyeing for its North Campus and the Lowcountry Graduate Program. The school instead will be moving into a building under construction on nearby Paramount Drive.
Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail