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How to Become a Healthcare Reimbursement Specialist

Learn how to become a healthcare reimbursement specialist. Research the education requirements, training information and experience required for starting a career in healthcare reimbursement. View article »

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  • 0:00 Healthcare…
  • 0:26 Career Requirements
  • 1:11 Become a Reimbursement…

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Healthcare Reimbursement Specialist

Healthcare reimbursement specialists communicate with insurance companies on behalf of healthcare providers to ensure proper billing and payment procedures. They verify insurance coverage, research insurance policies, provide phone support to patients, handle billing issues, and perform data entry. Specialists spend many work hours seated in offices.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Associate's degree is preferred
Degree Field Health information technology or medical billing
Experience 1-3 years of medical coding or related experience
Certification American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) certification is optional
Key Skills Strong analytical, organization, time-management, and customer service skills; ability to work independently; knowledge of Medicare and Medicaid billing procedures and ICD-9 coding
Salary (2016) $41,346 (median for healthcare reimbursement specialists)

Sources: Job postings from multiple employers, PayScale.com.

Become a Reimbursement Specialist

Step 1: Earn an Associate's Degree

An associate's degree program in health information technology, medical billing and insurance coding, or a related field teaches students the billing and coding, medical terminology, and administrative skills needed for a career in healthcare reimbursement. Students also learn about ethical and legal issues related to the field.

Billing centers, physicians' offices, and hospitals offer internship programs allowing students to gain experience in a healthcare setting. This experience is valuable when looking for employment.

Step 2: Gain Work Experience

Most healthcare reimbursement specialist positions require candidates to have some prior experience in medical coding or in another capacity in a medical office. An internship counts toward experience, and some employers offer entry-level positions, such as customer service representative, for new graduates.

Step 3: Become Certified for Career Advancement

Certification credentials are offered through AHIMA. Depending on the area in which a reimbursement specialist is educated and experienced, he or she can earn the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA), Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT), Certified Coding Associate (CCA), Certified Coding Specialist (CCS), or Certified Coding Specialist Physician-based (CCS-P) credential. Eligibility requirements vary, but include graduation from a healthcare-related degree program and some professional experience. Certification is optional, but it helps with career advancement.

Healthcare reimbursement specialists often need an associate's degree in health information technology or medical billing and experience through an internship or related work experience is typically required.

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