COLUMBIA -- BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina wants to hire 500 people, most of them for work in the Columbia area.

The State newspaper reported that the company will hold two open houses for people interested in the jobs. One will be held Tuesday at the BlueCross office in Carolina Research Park in Columbia. The other will be held Dec. 6 at the company's building on Percival Road in Columbia.

BlueCross says it needs to hire registered nurses, accountants, auditors, accounting clerks and others due to new and expanding contracts in the government programs and private insurance divisions.

The BlueCross Blue Shield of South Carolina group of companies employs more than 11,000 nationwide, including more than 8,000 in South Carolina. The company has its headquarters in Columbia.