Solon expects more jobs next year from US health insurance firms

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01:53 PM December 26th, 2012

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By: Karen Boncocan, December 26th, 2012 01:53 PM

Congressman Roman Romulo delivers his inspirational message during the Barangay Health workers General Assembly and Convention held at Grand Convention Center. CDN FILE PHOTO /CHOY ROMANO

MANILA, Philippines — A legislator on Wednesday expects a big number of jobs being generated in the country from American health insurance firms next year.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, House deputy majority leader Roman Romulo said that a large number of health insurance companies from the United States are likely to transfer many of its clinical support service and other back office jobs to the Philippines.

He said that the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in the country will likely produce $27 billion in revenues and directly engage some 1.3 million Filipinos by 2016.

He said American health insurance firms like Connecticut-based Cigna Corporation, Kentucky-based Humana Incorporated, and California-based Health Net Incorporated would, like their rivals, invest in building back offices in Metro Manila to cut costs.

Presently, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group Incorporated, Indiana-based WellPoint Incorporated and Connecticut-based Aetna Incorporated already have back offices in the country.

Romulo said that these top American health insurance companies “cover more than 130 million Americans. One could just imagine the claims they process every day as well as the clinical support services they require.”

“Substantially lower cost is the biggest factor driving US health insurers to transfer jobs to Manila. Studies suggest they stand to generate around 30 percent in potential cost-savings once they convey the jobs here,” said the legislator.

He said that the lure of savings should be “impossible to ignore, especially since we are talking here of New York Stock Exchange-listed American health insurers under constant pressure to report ever-increasing profits to their public shareholders.”

Obamacare or the US Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will also be a driving force in creating jobs in the Philippines as it mandates reforms to simplify and cut down the cost of health care. With Obamacare, Romulo said that US health insurers have to cover more Americans, pressing them to “shift jobs to lower-cost locations such as the Philippines.”

This could prove to be beneficial for thousands of Filipinos, including nurses and other health practitioners, who are still looking for employment. US-based health insurance firms’ back offices perform a large number of services including clinical quality analysis and management, medical billing coordination, and medical data coding.

Claims processing, premium and benefit administration, agency management, account reconciliation, policy research, underwriting support, new business processing, and policy servicing are also services provided by back offices of American health insurance companies.

Romulo believes that the country’s new Data Privacy Protection Law also has a role in boosting outsourcing in Metro Manila as it provides “adequate safeguards” for patients’ sensitive personal information.

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