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Work in Health Insurance? Consider an MBA

Boise State University’s online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an Emphasis in Healthcare Leadership degree program is designed for working professionals with career aspirations that combine healthcare and business. One might assume this degree would primarily benefit healthcare providers and managers. But a healthcare MBA can also be a good career driver for professionals working in health insurance, especially those on the administration and management side.

How Does Healthcare Administration Relate to Health Insurance?

Essentially, healthcare administration and health insurance professions rely in large part on the same set of knowledge and skills, namely those that apply to the intersection of business and healthcare.

Any provider-based healthcare organization, whether a small, for-profit medical practice or a large nonprofit hospital, is a business. Both types of organizations function on the same business principles — maintaining financial sustainability and growth, effective management of resources and well-conceived marketing and messaging. Accordingly, there is an industry-wide trend toward hiring healthcare administrators and managers with a business-oriented background and education.

Health insurance companies are often thought of as more traditional businesses, focused on the bottom line and reliant on management’s command of best practices in business. But, logically, health insurance professionals must also have an in-depth understanding of healthcare industry topics and issues, including healthcare regulations, trends in treatment options, and medication pricing and development.

Health insurance professionals must also establish beneficial relationships with providers. In particular, health insurance management works with healthcare administrators to develop the insurance company’s network. Again, health insurance management and healthcare provider management relate through the same foundation of knowledge surrounding business, healthcare, and matters of regulatory compliance and law.

What Is an Example of Regulatory Change that Affects Providers and Health Insurance Companies Alike?

Health insurance professionals and healthcare providers must stay current on fluctuations in health insurance regulations, such as year-by-year changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These changes can have rapid and fluid effects on both industries.

As one example, ACA subsidies given by the government according to an individual’s income have increased the numbers of people purchasing individual healthcare through the marketplace, or state-run marketplaces. These subsidies are tied to certain tiers of health insurance, particularly the silver plans.

People taking advantage of the ACA represent an emerging and previously untapped, or unprofitable, market for private insurance and healthcare providers, presenting ramifications for targeted marketing, risk assessment, plan and treatment pricing and overall business development strategy. And even though higher-tiered and more expensive levels of insurance might ostensibly make an insurance company more profit plan by plan, that company might increase overall profits by expanding silver plan offerings.

Moreover, ACA regulations on what must be covered under a health insurance plan (e.g., mental health) also requires health insurance companies to incorporate according providers into their network. Health insurance companies and providers must therefore develop relationships, set up service pricing structures based on demand, cost and benefit, and adjust plan premiums accordingly.

How Can Earning an MBA in Healthcare Leadership Advance My Career in Health Insurance?

Boise State’s online MBA in healthcare leadership is a specialized business degree. Core coursework focuses on developing a student’s business acumen through the comprehensive study of all areas of business operations, quantitative analysis, critical thinking development, strategic decision-making and leadership. Advanced coursework takes this expansive understanding of business topics and applies those learnings to the business-focused aspects of healthcare management.

This integrated study of business and healthcare can benefit most any health insurance professional, from marketers and independent brokers to underwriters and statisticians. Yet, as an advanced business administration degree, Boise State’s specialized MBA suits professionals seeking leadership roles in health insurance companies, from departmental management to executive level leadership.

Healthcare MBA graduates have demonstrated their grasp of the diverse knowledge sets and leadership qualities needed to occupy these upper-level roles. As such, this credential can be a boon for a job candidate’s resume or qualifications for promotion within a company.

Plus, the potential of governmental regulations causing the deprivatization of health insurance, or at least creation of a public option, could lead to significant turbulence in the health insurance industry. In such an instance, healthcare MBA graduates would be well-prepared for lateral career mobility within private and public insurance organizations. They would also have the option to work in healthcare management or management in many other industries. Essentially, earning a healthcare MBA can help advance the careers of professionals in the health insurance industry while also providing them with the diversified knowledge and skills needed for career versatility in times of change.

Learn more about Boise State University’s online MBA program with an Emphasis in Healthcare Leadership.