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How to Become a Medical Underwriter: Career Guide

Research the requirements to become a medical underwriter. Learn about the job description and duties and read the step-by-step process to start a career as a medical underwriter. View article »

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  • 0:01 Should I Be a Medical…
  • 0:33 Career Requirements
  • 1:20 Steps to Become an Underwriter

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Video Transcript

Should I Be A Medical Underwriter?

A medical underwriter drafts policies for personal healthcare insurance. Responsibilities include reviewing insurance documents to determine whether an offer of health insurance should be made, determining insurance types and limits, and calculating premium costs. These professionals typically work indoors within an office environment. They often work with computer systems that track insurance records, payment plans, and costs.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field None specified; risk management common
Training On-the-job training often provided
Licensure/Certification Voluntary through the American College of Financial Services
Key Skills Interpersonal, analytic, problem-solving, critical thinking, time management, decision-making, and writing skills; computer skills and use of field specific software
Salary $65,040 (2015 median for insurance underwriters)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May, 2014), O*Net Online

Medical underwriters typically need a bachelor's degree and on the job training is provided by many employers. While licensure or certification is not required, certification by associates, such as the American College of Financial Services, is helpful. Medical underwriters should have good interpersonal, analytic and decision-making skills, as well as complex problem-solving, critical thinking, time management and writing skills. Additionally, aspiring underwriters should have computer skills and knowledge of field specific software programs is helpful. As of a 2015 report by O*NET Online, insurance underwriters earned a median annual wage of $65,040.

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Steps to Become an Underwriter

Typically, the first step to becoming a medical underwriter is to graduate from a bachelor's degree program. A specific degree program is not required but bachelor's degree programs in insurance and risk management are offered through the business divisions of many colleges and universities. These programs, which commonly require four years to complete, include classes in life and health insurance, value analysis, managed care, risk management theory, insurance operations and business statistics.

Students in risk management and insurance bachelor's degree programs might be able to participate in internships. Interns may learn about the common tasks insurance underwriters perform, which can help them when they begin to work after graduation. Interns can also network with the companies with which they intern, which may make finding employment after graduation easier.

The second step is to being working as a medical underwriter. Working in the field of medical underwriting normally does not require experience, meaning that individuals can begin working as medical underwriters for many companies immediately after graduation. A medical underwriter may review insurance documents, calculate premium payments and determine whether an individual should receive an offer for health insurance.

The third step is to advance your career with industry certifications. While certification is not required to work in the field, many employers prefer or seek candidates who are certified. The American College of Financial Services offers the Chartered Healthcare Consultant (ChHC) and Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) credentials. Earning either credential requires completing an education program and having at least three years of experience. Retaining either credential requires completing 30 credit hours of continuing education every two years.

Medical underwriters often have a bachelor's degree, possibly in a major such as risk management, and they can earn voluntary industry certification. As of 2015, the median annual salary for these professionals was just over $65,000.

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