West Chester firm plans 300 Obamacare hires

InterMedia Marketing, a 30-year-old, West Chester-based company best known as an outsource call center for Comcast, Glaxo, Frontier Communications, and other telecom and pharma companies, says it's recruiting 300 phone health insurance salespeople to be trained this summer to service and sell policies to potential customers of several Blue Cross affiliates under the new Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) individual-enrollment program, starting in October.

"We're recruiting at colleges -- it's a great opportunity for a newly graduated students, and for retired licensed insurance agents," InterMedia's operations chief, Patricia Elkins, told me. She's looking for "people who know what it's like to sit at a phone for eight hours and paint a picture," working with consumers who might never have bought their own health insurance. College degree not required, but applicants wil be trained to apply for the state insurance sales licenses they'll need. Elkins claims a "75 percent success rate" for license tests under an earlier training program for agents selling to Medicare Part D customers after that program began in 2006.

InterMedia's customers for the new program include Blue Cross affiliates Carefirst (Maryland, Delaware, D.C., Virginia), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, and Excellus (western New York State), among others.  "We're doing a huge ramp-up during open enrollment. We need to get a lot of knowledgeable, credible agents on the phone and get them licensed." Some will work from home, others from InterMedia centers in West Chester, Johnstown, Pa., and Orangeburg, S.C.

InterMedia is owned by Andy Thompson, who is the firm's sales director; Paul Santry, the CEO; and Main Line investor Arthur Kania. (Revised)