Medical Billing: Financial Aid and Support
Medical billing is one of the fastest rising career paths in the United States. In order to distinguish themselves from competitors, many professional billers are obtaining certificates in various sub-areas of the field. Medical billing (MB) students often seek out financial aid to afford these certification programs; the following list includes some of the most popular aid options.
Some students qualify for Federal Work Study to subsidize their student employment; this may be available for individuals who work with public agencies and private organizations, as well as those employed on-campus. Perkins loans are also available, and students who go into public service or volunteer through AmeriCorps may be eligible to have part or all of their loan repayments forgiven.
Unlike federal loans where Uncle Sam guarantees repayment, with private loans, the bank has no guarantee that the student will repay. To offset the higher risk of offering the loan, banks will charge a higher interest rate, typically at least 6% APR. Banks that offer private student loans include Chase, Discover and Wells Fargo.
Scholarships, Grants and Other Benefits
There are a number of need- and merit-based scholarships and grants for which MB certificate students may be eligible. In addition, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is available to low-income students at qualifying post-secondary institutions.
Veterans may use the Post 9/11 GI Bill, or qualify for Veterans Retraining, to pay for the cost of their MB certificate; likewise, dependents of veterans may have the cost of their certificate covered if they qualify for DEA benefits.
In the field, scholarships are available through organizations like the American Institute of Healthcare Compliance (AIHC), Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and the American Health Information Management Association’s Foundation (AHIMA), although eligibility may be restricted to individuals enrolled in programs that award degrees.
Students are encouraged to research a wide variety of sources in order to net the largest amount of student aid; with so many loan, grant, and scholarship opportunities available to help fund their education, those seeking an MB certificate should be able to find the means to obtain the required level of financial assistance.