What was originally hoped to be, “15 days to slow the spread” has lingered on into a multi-year healthcare crisis. In the past two years, COVID-19 has evolved as a disease, changing from the virus we first encountered into the Omicron variant we’re combatting today. In response, the healthcare insurance industry has also had to adapt. 

At first, the response was to freeze. In the best cases, insurance teams stayed put and ceased all hirings. In the worst, layoffs marked those dark first days of the COVID-19 pandemic. As work slowed and employers scrambled to find safe solutions to workflow disruptions, a backlog of claims quietly grew. 

As the days turned to months and the months turned to years, the industry gradually learned to adapt. Widespread adoption of remote and hybrid work models allowed teams to get back to work, providing essential services for patients facing complex claims, COVID-related or otherwise. Now, the healthcare insurance industry faces two growing challenges: Expanding Enrollment Rates and Rising Demand for Skilled Talent.

Growing Enrollment Rates

First, the number of Americans covered by insurance is on the rise. According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14.5 million Americans got private insurance through Healthcare.gov this year. In addition to the private marketplace, the Medicaid and Medicare populations are also on the rise. The latest data from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows 26.4 million Medicare beneficiaries out of 62.7 million enrolled in the Medicare Advantage plan, with total enrollment growing by 2.4 million in 2021. In similar fashion, Medicaid enrollment has been on the rise for 16 straight months, with over 12 million newly enrolled since the start of the pandemic. 

In response, health plans are building and expanding networks to accommodate the uptick in enrollments. With such expansions comes a renewed need for talent to fill critical roles on insurance teams. 

Growing Demand for Talent

In response to the growing needs of an increasingly insured population, hiring is once again on the rise in the healthcare insurance industry. Operations teams are filling roles in customer service, enrollment and claims. While the expansion of remote and hybrid work opportunities is an exciting development for many teams in need of talent, it also presents a double edged sword.

On the one hand, tapping into a remote workforce for these operations means that the talent pool has been greatly expanded. With distance no longer an issue, applicants can come from anywhere with an internet connection. Without geography as a barrier to overcome, the right fit for any given team may be closer than employers previously thought. 

On the other hand, companies have now gone from competing against those within a single market location to battling for qualified talent at a national level. In fact, polling indicates that 43 percent of insurance talent respondents feel it’s getting harder to find skilled candidates in a number of functional areas. On top of concerns about competition come questions of security. With more than 100 million Americans becoming the target of cyber attacks on the insurance industry in the last two years alone, employers need to be careful before deploying widespread remote workforce strategies. 

Insuring a Healthy Workforce for Years to come 

The working world has been completely upended by COVID-19, and healthcare – including the healthcare insurance industry – has been on the forefront of these changes from the beginning. As the number of insurance enrollments continue to tick up amid a race for skilled talent, employers need to be ready to adapt. In addition to flexible working environments, increased compensation and creative benefits may be needed to attract new talent and retain existing employees. Without the right people for the job, the insurance industry might have a new crisis on its hands. 

Is your insurance team in need of skilled talent? Click here to learn how Medix Healthcare can provide insurance and administrative talent for roles in a variety of settings. 

About the Author

Jake WolberAuthor Frame - Jake Wolber Medix is the National Director of Insurance at Medix. Jake works with his team and clients on recruitment strategies and hiring initiatives tailored to the healthcare insurance industry. When not at work, you can find Jake spending time with his family, usually outdoors or at a sporting event.