According to Harper College, a health insurance specialist is a medical insurance billing and coding technician or clerk that handles much of the paperwork related to medical claims. Health insurance specialists work in both inpatient and outpatient facilities and serve as the primary link between health care facilities and insurance companies. They can also work on the other side for insurance companies as a go between to the health care facilities.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies health insurance specialists as medical records and health information technicians. Those who work in this field not only serve as the liaison between medial facilities and insurance companies, but also as records organizers and auditors. They must ensure that the information found in medical records is accurate and make or report changes as necessary. In some cases, this may involve some investigative work speaking with patients to clear up any confusion or mistakes. They must have excellent communication skills to speak with patients and also to speak with physicians and other health care professionals to clarify diagnoses and treatments.
Those wanting to get into this field of work can expect better than average job prospects from 2008 to 2018. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 172,500 individuals in the U.S. employed in this field in 2008. The number of jobs is expected to grow by 35,000 or roughly 20 percent from 2008 to 2018. This higher than average job growth is expected to coincide with the rapid growth of the health care industry.
Aside from the necessary communications skills, health insurance specialists typically need to have an associate degree in a field like health information technology. Health insurance specialists need to have knowledge of medical terminology, insurance billing systems and requirements and standards for health data records and for health insurance companies. They also need to be aware of reimbursement methods used in the health insurance industry. Health insurance specialists can also obtain certification through a third-party organization like the American Health Information Management Association to add further legitimacy to their credentials.
Medical records and health information technicians made a median salary of $31,290 in May 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest paid professionals in this field made more than $51,510, while the lowest paid professionals only made an average of $20,850.