The Intersection of Health and Economics

By Summer Intern Olivia Gong

Olivia Gong Web

The United States’ healthcare system is convoluted and complex, always changing and shifting in policies, regulations, and practices. As the world begins to slowly recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, I am continuously reminded of how the past year and a half has impacted all our lives. I am in awe of the medical and technological progressions that have been made but also intrigued by the performance of the stock market. Working as the Health Plans intern at the Pension Boards–United Church of Christ (PBUCC) has allowed me to further enrapture myself in the intersections of healthcare and economics during these uncertain times.

Coming into this internship, I was excited to engage with the insurance marketplace and be challenged in my role. Over the course of my first week, I was quickly introduced to the exclusions and exceptions of PBUCC’s Health Plans, I attended meetings about President Biden’s healthcare plans, learned the intricacies of the Church Benefits Association, and familiarized myself with the vendors that PBUCC partners with to provide its health services and benefits. In the following weeks, I worked on a variety of projects ranging from reviewing PBUCC’s health plan highlights booklets, participating in the development of the 2022 health premium rates, and evaluating efficacy of performing a Pharmacy Benefits Manager audit. Every day was a new experience, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have been able to work with the supportive and member-driven Health Plan Operations team.

Outside of the Health Plans department, I had the opportunity to learn more about the financial side of the company through our Intern Capstone Project. Being able to come into the office once a week helped me facilitate connections with the other interns and dedicate a portion of my day to focus on the project. Coming from different backgrounds, the interns became an interdisciplinary team, allowing me to learn from them and develop new skills as we performed quantitative analyses and developed a marketing plan for the Capstone Project. Overall, my experience at PBUCC has shown me how dedicated the organization is to make a difference in the lives of its members through the series of benefits that it offers to them.