If Barack Obama has his way with his healthcare plan, it would of course insure close to 30 million Americans, even the ones who cannot presently afford it. But it would also offer the BPO business a big wild-card entry in the US, where outsourcing is a big election issue.
Obama’s healthcare reform is a Rs 1.2 lakh crore opportunity for the Indian IT sector, said an Economic Times report. The law, when enforced in 2014, looks to medically insure all Americans and a failure in doing so is penalised. Employers who fail to provide affordable insurance to permanent employees will also be penalised.
The project, which predictably will involve a lot of paperwork in terms of claims processing and maintaining healthcare records from insurers in the US, will have BPO players from all geographies gunning for it, say experts.
Although India is still ahead of rival offshore majors such as the Philippines, it still has to be proactive and make the necessary investments to cater to this opportunity. “A project like this will accelerate the growth of the BPO segment which has been seeing a slight slump in demand. All of them (IT companies) will have to take this opportunity seriously,” said Amneet Singh, vice-president, Global Sourcing, Everest Group, an IT research organisation.
Healthcare has been a major focus for IT companies for a while now. The industry makes about 5-10 percent of revenues from the healthcare and life sciences vertical, with Wipro close to 10 percent and TCS and Infosys close to 5-6 percent.
But analysts are not sure if a project like (Obamacare) this one would be classified under healthcare or the BFSI segment. “Whether this classifies as a BFSI project needs to be checked. If it is, then it changes the dynamics of who has an advantage,” said Sundarraman Viswanathan, Engagement Manager at Zinnov Management Consulting, a Bangalore-based consultancy firm.
But he maintained that, that would not change the fact that everyone is eyeing this very seriously. “Everyone is keen on anything they can lay their hands on. So everyone will pitch,” he said.