Insurance Billing Specialist: Job Duties, Employment Outlook, and Education Requirements

Explore the career requirements for insurance billing specialists. Get the facts about education requirements, certification, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Accounting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is an Insurance Billing Specialist?

Insurance billing specialist are responsible for verifying that insurance claims are properly submitted; they also follow up on unpaid reimbursements from insurance companies and patients. This process involves reviewing patients records, maintaining data in clinical databases and registries, and using classification software to assign clinical codes. Working in the medical field, insurance billing specialist have to make sure to maintain patient confidentiality when working with records. The table below outlines the job requirements for insurance billing specialists:

Degree Required Postsecondary certificate; associate's degree may be preferred
Certification Voluntary Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential
Key Responsibilities Maintain patient files, contact patients regarding outstanding balances, retain transcripts and manage invoices and payments
Job Growth (2014-2024)*15% (for all medical records and health information technicians)
Median Salary (2015)* $37,110 (for all medical records and health information technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Do I Need to Be an Insurance Billing Specialist?

At the very least, you need a high school diploma with some experience in the billing industry to become an insurance billing specialist. However, most employers prefer that you have a 1-year certificate or an associate's degree in insurance billing, medical billing or health information technology. These programs can be found at many community colleges and technical schools. Some programs involve an internship and coursework often includes:

  • Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Medical insurance coding
  • Health information management
  • Medical billing software
  • Health information privacy

If you complete an associate's degree program approved by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), you may take a certification exam to become a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT). Becoming RHIT-certified may help you gain more career opportunities and increased salary.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

Insurance and medical billing specialists, often called health information technicians, contact patients regarding outstanding balances, maintain patient files, retain transcripts and possibly manage invoices and payments. In this role you are also responsible for providing secure, accurate and truthful information to insurance carriers. According to the BLS in 2014, 38% of health information technicians are employed by hospitals, but you could also work for a doctor's office, insurance agency and medical billing outsourcing company.

What Is the Job Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for medical records and health information technicians were expected to expand by 15% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). This growth was consistent with overall job increases in the healthcare industry. The BLS states that you may have a greater advantage over other applicants if you have strong computer skills. The BLS reports that all medical records and health information technicians earned a median salary of $37,110 as of May 2015.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Some alternative careers related to insurance billing include information clerks, medical and health service managers and medical transcriptionist. Information clerks and medical transcriptionist are similar because they share some of the same duties. Information clerks are responsible for maintaining records, collecting data and providing clients with information. Like insurance billing specialists, medical transcriptionists must have a knowledge of medical code, which they use to transcribe medical information into databases. Medical and health service managers coordinate and direct medical services. Since healthcare law and health insurance regulations play a large role in this, they too must have a knowledge of insurance services.

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