Signed into law in 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, has had an impact on employment trends, but many would debate whether it was positive or negative. The ACA was announced during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression; over this period of time the unemployment rate ranged from 10%, at its worst, to a recent 4.9%.1
Arguments can be made on what type of impact the ACA had on employment. Some feel that the ACA caused employers to cut back on full-time employees to decrease the number of employees they had to offer insurance to, therefore resulting in more workers needing to enter a part-time position. Workers moving from a full-time to part-time position are not reflected in the unemployment rate. On a positive note, since the ACA launched, the number of uninsured Americans has fallen from 15.7% to 9.%2. This has helped boost the healthcare sector to by increasing the sheer number of Americans enrolled.
There are three areas in healthcare that are seeing increases in employment trends as a result of ACA:
What once was only plausible on an episode of The Jetsons, remote healthcare is now an actuality. The American Telemedicine Association defines telemedicine as “the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status.”3 Adoption of telemedicine is expected to increase significantly and by 2020, the global telemedicine market is expected to reach $36.3 billion dollars.4 Seen as the “Ubers” of healthcare, companies such as Teladoc, American Well and Doctor on Demand have helped increase the number of patients interested in telemedicine services to 75%.5 Taking it a step further are medical device and video solution companies that provide real-time examinations as convenient and seamless as being in a doctor’s office. The investment dollars pouring into this sector are from small investors to large names including Google, Apple and Intel. The telemedicine market should see significant job growth for years to come.
Health Information Management
Technology is not only driving growth in telemedicine, but in Health Information. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) defines Health Information Managements as “the practice of acquiring, analyzing and protecting digital and traditional medical information vital to providing quality patient care. It is a combination of business, science, and information technology.”6
Health Information job opportunities are expected to be in high demand as the industry continues to grow. Taking good care of patients is vital, but taking good care of patients’ data is also important. And with cybersecurity as a top priority for health providers, keeping patient data secure adds additional employment and Health Information Management opportunities.
Most people would agree that the ACA is complex and the average person may need help to navigate their way through the system. Not only are there numerous options to choose from, but the qualifications can be confusing. This has created an opportunity for insurance-related companies to provide sales services and exchanges to offer “navigator” roles to help enroll people into an insurance plan either directly through the federal and state marketplace or through private insurance agents.
The debate over job growth resulting from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act will likely be ongoing. Some say we won’t know the long-term implications for many years to come. However, the job growth in the Healthcare sector should remain strong. If you are interested in entering this field, click here to learn more about online degree offerings in healthcare administration.