DURHAM, N.C. — North Carolina’s largest health insurer has announced it will lay off 165 customer service reps, many of whom were hired last year to enroll customers under the Affordable Care Act.

The News & Observer reports (http://bit.ly/2qUlSmj ) that Blue Cross and Blue Shield confirmed Wednesday that the cuts will take effect in June and affect workers in Durham, Fayetteville and Winston-Salem.

Blue Cross spokeswoman Ryan Vulcan says the insurer had increased its staff to prepare for the 2017 open enrollment period, after the state Department of Insurance levied a record $3.6 million fine in 2016 for widespread problems during open enrollment. Vulcan says the company is cutting staff to support current customers after the conclusion of the enrollment period. Terminated employees are eligible for severance pay.