Should I Become a Medicare Auditor?
Medicare auditors, also known as health insurance specialists, work with and for the government insurance program Medicare. They ensure that state Medicare programs and Medicare-contracted agencies adhere to government regulations. Much of auditors' time is spent in close evaluation of Medicare applications, the dispersal of funds, and the paper trail associated with the Medicare healthcare system.
Most Medicare auditors are employed full-time. Those who are employed by doctors' offices and hospitals may have minimal exposure to infectious diseases. The job requires little physical activity, and such auditors work in an office setting. They must be excellent communicators and work well in a team, as well as with the public.
|Degree Level||High school diploma minimum; a bachelor's degree or higher can help candidates advance more quickly|
|Degree Fields||Business, law, healthcare administration or a related field|
|Experience||Several years of experience with the federal government; education may be substituted for experience in some jobs|
|Key Skills||Critical thinking, decision making and problem solving abilities, experience with claims processing software|
|Salary (2014)||$65,940 yearly (median for accountants and auditors)|
Sources: Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, ONet Online, U.S. Department of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Get an Education
Some Medicare auditors only need a high school diploma or the equivalent, but those with an associate's or bachelor's degree can advance to an auditing position more quickly. Since programs specifically for Medicare auditors don't exist, students may pursue a degree in business, finance, law or an insurance- or healthcare-related field. These degree programs typically involve courses in research, finance, health insurance and healthcare law.
- Develop communication skills. Auditors must have strong oral and written communication skills to collect necessary information about state programs and collaborate with other departments. Courses in mass communication, English and public speaking can strengthen these skills.
- Complete an internship. Students can gain auditing experience as interns in a medical, healthcare or insurance setting. Interns may be responsible for conducting audits and presenting results to managers. In these positions, aspiring Medicare workers can learn auditing procedures and job-specific software.
Step 2: Work for the Federal Government
Medicare auditor positions typically require several years of experience working with Medicare. The amount of experience needed depends on the level of the desired position, but applicants must undertake jobs that teach them how to process claims, judge the compliance of state programs and write reports about the results. Workers can substitute a master's or doctoral degree in a relevant field of study, such as business or healthcare administration, or combine education and experience to meet the requirement.
Step 3: Advance to Medicare Auditor
Depending on their level, Medicare auditors may have different job descriptions. Duties typically include auditing state programs for compliance issues and making appropriate changes, developing regulations for Medicaid programs and contractors and recommending improvements to Medicare operations. As auditors gain experience, they may teach Medicaid regulations to other staffers or lead program analysis teams.
- Consider a graduate or professional degree program. Medicare auditing jobs are available to those who hold a high school diploma and those who have earned a bachelor's degree or completed other postsecondary education, provided these individuals also have significant experience working for the U.S. government. In some cases, a professional or graduate degree in law, business, healthcare administration or public administration can be substituted for some of this experience.