How the affordable care act will affect your recruiting

Robyn Melhuish discusses the affordable care act and the impact it will have on pharma recruitment.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was signed into law March 2010, is an act intended to protect healthcare consumers by introducing a series of policy reforms designed to lower consumer costs. The act is also meant to hold insurance companies to higher standards of accountability. Even with the recent government shutdowns and opposition, implementation will still continue.

To say that opinions regarding the ACA are mixed would be an understatement, but one thing is undeniably true: the law will have a major impact on the healthcare industry, including medical sales. Taxes have already been implemented which have been blamed for layoffs and cuts to research and development. But these same taxes are leading to facility and healthcare expansion. So, what sort of impact will the act have on your recruiting? Will you be busier filling more jobs or inundated with resumes from out-of-work reps?

There are two schools of thought to evaluate:

Viewpoint #1: If the demand for drugs and devices goes up, it should create more healthcare sales jobs.

Because of the ACA, the volume of patients moving through the medical system will be significantly greater than in years past. The important thing to note is this: more patients will lead to increased opportunity for those in medical sales professionals. For example, those who are specializing in the sale of non-emergency equipment – such as preventive medicine supplies or dental equipment – will have the most to gain because of a higher demand.

In addition, while the ACA may have had an impact on taxes, many medical device companies are experiencing better than expected earnings. Stryker reported second quarter revenue of $2.21 billion, beating their projected figures. Other companies that went further than expected include Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, Cardinal Health Inc., and Abbott Laboratories. This leads to healthcare innovations, expansion, and more sales jobs due to increased push for drugs and devices.

Lastly, it’s important to note that as a whole, the healthcare industry is expanding. For example, the industry added 20,000 new jobs in June and job growth in healthcare has been consistently better than in most industries – the unemployment rate of 5.6 percent remains significantly lower than the national average of 7.6 percent.

“So, what sort of impact will the act have on your recruiting?”

Viewpoint #2: The Medical Device Tax – which is part of Affordable Care Act – will result in fewer medical device sales jobs.

On the other end of the spectrum, many believe that the Medical Device Tax – established to help fund the ACA – won’t be good for the industry at all. Industry group AdvaMed firmly believes that the the tax will severely harm the number of jobs available and deter healthcare innovation. With the the industry already paying more than $1 billion to the Federal government since the Medical Device Tax was implemented at the beginning of 2013, organizations like AdvaMed don’t see the ACA as a good thing.

The pharmaceutical sector will also be hit with inflated taxes and fees created by the ACA, which may negatively affect employment at pharma companies as well. In fact, industry leaders expect taxes created by the ACA to carry an $85 billion price tag for pharmaceutical companies over the next 10 years.

Outcome for recruiting

The pros and cons of the Affordable Care Act are certainly debatable, but the act stands to create more healthcare jobs – particularly jobs for healthcare providers, who will be needed to treat the influx of newly insured patients. If we follow the viewpoint that these patients will create increased demand for drugs and devices, the number of healthcare sales jobs may increase as well, despite the taxes.

“…organizations like AdvaMed don’t see the ACA as a good thing.”

However, medical sales reps may struggle with a different sort of workload as the ACA is fully implemented. They may find it harder to schedule meetings with increasingly busy doctors, and they will have to become experts on how their drug or device will be reimbursed by the various insurance companies and exchanges. For those who can step up to these challenges, medical sales jobs are still available and growing.

More and more will be expected of medical sales reps, so you may need to tailor your search towards candidates who are more specialized or those who have valuable transferable skills. In the end, it will be more important to find medical sales reps who can not only explain how their product works and how it will be reimbursed, but those who have a greater understanding of the healthcare industry as a whole and can speak intelligently about the changes taking place within it.

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About the author:

Robyn Melhuish is the Communications Manager at MedReps.com, a job board which gives members access to the most sought after medical sales jobs and pharmaceutical sales jobs on the Web. Connect with Robyn and MedReps.com on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

What do you think? How do you think the Affordable Care Act will influence your recruiting?