Career of the Week: Health Insurance

Published: Sep 10, 2009

Not so much a "career" focus as an entire economic sector that's worth checking out, this week we're recommending the health insurance industry as a potential place to find employment. Why? Well, the reasons they are many, and begin with President Obama's address to Congress last night. <p>In light of the President's declaration that he has "no interest in putting [health] insurance companies out of business," it seems safe to say that those working in the industry have little to fear from the proposed reforms—whatever they may turn out to be. And, with "millions of new customers" to compete for should a proposed health care exchange be established to provide coverage for the uninsured, health insurance suddenly looks like a burgeoning field to get into.<p>While the President also stated his intention to hold insurance companies "accountable," even that promise is likely to create jobs, rather than eliminate them; for wherever there are new rules, teams of compliance specialists tend to follow rather closely behind (witness the compliance boom in the aftermath of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation being passed). And let's not forget: the industry is currently worth around one-sixth of the entire U.S. economy. Should measures to increase the number of people with insurance be put into place, that figure should continue to grow along with the population.<p>The reason we're not recommending any one specific career within the industry is because, well, there are just <i>so many</i> to pick from. A quick search of our own archives turns up everything from product consultants to network managers. While the job possibilities are almost limitless, one thing we would suggest is not searching vacancies with "health insurance" as your key words. The reason? You'll turn up every job posting that advertises benefits, but few within the actual industry. Far better to start by checking out a few of the companies within the field and taking it from there. As this overview of the industry suggests, "big names in health insurance are, or should be, familiar to most of the adult workforce," so finding a place to start shouldn't be too difficult. Try checking out our profiles of Kaiser Permanente, AETNA, or AFLAC and others to learn a little more about what the companies do. Or, if you're satisfied you know enough, why not check out some employee reviews to get an idea of what people who already work for the companies think (and, perhaps more importantly, what kind of salary they're making).<p>Should you require any further persuasion to work within the industry, bear in mind this line from President Obama's speech. Quoting the late Ted Kennedy, he made the argument that health care is not only "decisive for our future prosperity," but that "fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country" are at stake. How's that for a reason to get out of bed in the morning?<p><i><b>--Posted by Phil Stott, Vault Staff Writer</b></i>