7 Jobs Created By the Affordable Care Act
It remains to be seen whether the Affordable Care Act will ultimately increase or decrease jobs overall, but for some job categories there is no question – and the news is good. Although these new jobs are created in direct response to the increased number of Americans with health insurance, most of them aren’t in fields that provide hands-on patient care.
Physician Assistants/Nurse Practitioners
As the number of insured patients rises, so does the demand for medical practitioners. The 8 million Americans who enrolled in the Affordable Care Act are going to use their new insurance to get healthcare services, and PAs and NAs will play a large role in providing them. Contributing to their demand are their lower salaries and faster entry into the work force than their physician counterparts.
The Affordable Care Act requires employers to offer insurance to all employees who work an average of 30 hours per week or more, at a cost of no more than 9.5% of their salary. Keeping track of these and other details, and making sure the employer is compliant with new regulations will fall largely on payroll and human resource staff. Payroll service provider companies are also expected to add employees as some of this work gets hired out to them.
The Affordable Care Act requires doctors and hospitals to convert to electronic records. This is a huge undertaking that will require a whole lot of programmers to accomplish. The conversion to electronic medical records had already made this a rapidly growing field – even in bad economic times. Between 2009 and 2012 the number of medical records and health information technicians grew by 7% to more than 182,000 according to The Wall Street Journal. They also reported that computer-related jobs in the healthcare industry have grown more than 30% from 2008 to 2013. Conversion to ICD-10 in 2015 will also add to their demand.
Medical Billing Coders
8 million newly insured patients bring with them 8 million new demands for medical records. Add to this the nation’s transition to ICD-10, which expands the number of diagnostic codes from 14,000 to 69,000 beginning in October 2015, and the work begins to add up. So does the demand for workers.
Insurers can no longer deny coverage for people with a previous condition, and rehabilitation and habilitation coverage is a requirement of the Affordable Care Act. Previously, insurers rarely covered habilitative services, and for a time, even claimed it was the responsibility of the educational system to teach skills to the developmentally disabled. The demand from these previously insured but not covered, and the 8 million newly insured has already begun to increase the demand for occupational therapists. So much so that on the Bureau of Labor Statistics list of the anticipated 20 fastest growing occupations in the United States between 2012 and 2022, occupational therapy positions hold two spots.
Many employers are providing insurance to their employees for the first time and others are making major changes to their existing plans in order to comply with the Affordable Care Act. Consultants provide expertise in analyzing the demands and risks of a particular workforce and suggest the best options for Affordable Care Act compliant coverage at the best price. Consultants also advise pharmaceutical and medical device companies on how to take advantage of opportunities created by the Affordable Care Act to increase their profits.
Wellness and Fitness Coaches
The Affordable Care Act pressures employers to cut their healthcare costs by creating a healthier workforce. Many employers are complying by developing wellness programs and fitness classes at their workplaces. Programs include everything from Weight Watchers and exercise programs to smoking cessation contests, but they need help implementing them. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 37% growth of workers, to 87,000, in these fields by 2020.
So, while some worry about whether the Affordable Care Act will cut the number of employees working in their industry, others worry about whether there will be enough workers to get the work created by the Affordable Care Act done.
General Medicine, The Post Hospitalist Company, can help you meet your patient care demands while helping you control costs, contact us to learn more.