How do I Become a Medical Insurance Specialist?

Carol Francois

There are four items required to become a medical insurance specialist: post-secondary education, work experience, computer skills, and interpersonal skills. A medical insurance specialist works with both computers and people on a daily basis and can find employment opportunities in hospitals, clinic, health care agencies, or doctor’s offices. The primary tasks of a medical information specialist can be divided into two areas: patient interaction and computer processing. In this role, the specialist helps patients to understand medical bills and determine how much the insurance company will pay and the amount outstanding. This part of the job requires a great deal of communication and interaction with patients and their families.

A medical insurance specialist working.
A medical insurance specialist working.

Computer processing is required to submit payment claims to insurance companies. Understanding billing procedures, procedure coding and medical terminology is required. This aspect of the job requires accuracy, consistency, and computer skills. Technical computer skills must be maintained over time, as technologies change.

Health insurance.
Health insurance.

The first step to become a medical insurance specialist is to complete a post-secondary education program. These programs are usually eight months in length and are available from a wide range of community and career colleges. Applicants to this program must have a minimum 40 words per minute typing speed and be eligible for college admission.

The work experience necessary to become a medical insurance specialist is a combination of customer services and computer processing. These skills can be obtained from a wide range of part- and full-time positions. Receptionist, data entry clerk, and customer service positions all provide the relevant experience.

Approximately half of the tasks performed as a medical insurance specialist are computer processing related. The classes required to become a medical insurance specialist includes at least two computer processing courses. Typing speed and accuracy are both very important in this role. Invest the time necessary to keep your computer skills at the highest level possible.

Interpersonal skills that include empathy, communication, conflict management, and problem solving are all necessary in order to become a medical insurance specialist. People who have the greatest job satisfaction in this role are detail oriented, enjoy working independently, and are good communicators. The forecasted job growth for this field is very strong for the next five to seven year period. This is based on the growing shift toward computerized data keeping in both medical offices and insurance companies. The courses required for this program can be transferred to other education programs required for related careers, such as health information technologist.

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