How to pay for Medical Billing School or Medical Coding School. Learn about the different funding sources to pay for medical coding and billing schools. There are several sources of paying for you education in medical coding and billing schools.
The medical billing school or medical coding school you are considering should have a financial aid department that can help you determine the options to pay for your education. There financial aid rep should be knowledgeable scholarships, grants, loans, or work-study opportunities. Some medical coding and billing schools have developed partnerships with businesses that help pay for tuition.
Sometimes a medical billing school or medical coding school can offer loans at lower interest rates for those attending their school. Veterans of military service may also have access to more federal government student aid programs.
What’s The Cost?
The cost of tuition can vary quite a bit depending on the medical billing school, program, format, etc. One program may cost $2000 a quarter for a total of three quarters = $6000 total. While a two semester program at $2500 a semester will total $5000. So make sure you understand the pricing and length of the program to determine the total cost.
For basic coding, the cost of medical coding school can vary quite a bit. Some of the coding professional organizations such as AAPC (American Association of Professional Coders) offer course packages for a basic coding certificate from $1500 to $2,000. AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) also offers certification exam prep materials.
The reasonable cost for a two year associates degree offered at a community college can typically range from $5000 to $7000. However a two year degree does give you better credentials than a certificate program does - and a good foundation if you wish to pursue a more advance degree such as a bachelors or masters.
It’s important to make sure the courses you take are from and accredited school. It’s worth the extra cost to take courses from a reputable accredited program.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Scholarships are typically only available for those pursuing a degree - typically not for a certificate program. A traditional brick & mortar university or college typically offers more options for scholarships and other financial aid than online courses do.
There are also other sources of scholarships or financial aid for medical billing school or medical coding school. Some hospitals help with school loans for and agreement to work there upon graduation. Of course if you are employed by a hospital or large medical facility, chances are they offer a tuition reimbursement program that can be a great benefit. Some health insurance companies may also offer comparable benefits.
If you are currently employed, check into your employers tuition reimbursement programs.
The federal government also offers a variety of student assistance such as low interest or subsidized loans, grants, veterans benefits, etc. To apply for federal aid, you have to complete the The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application to determine the amount of money and program(s) you are eligible for. This application has to be received by March 10th prior to the fall you plan to enroll in school. This is a typical detailed government form so get started early as it may take a while to complete it.
As mentioned previously, the federal government offers programs for low cost (or low interest) loans, subsidized loans, grants, etc. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a good place to start.
The medical billing school or medical coder school you are considering may also offer their own financing programs and loans. However make sure you thoroughly understand the terms of the loan as their interest rates can be quite high.
Some colleges have the ability for a student to compare student loans from several different lenders. Most financial aid offices can guide you through the process. It’s usually a fairly streamlined online process that's pretty quick to complete.
One thing to consider when dealing with student loans is if you ever run into financial difficulties down the road, a student loan is treated differently. You can’t discharge a student loan in the event of bankruptcy. A lot of people go through bankruptcy thinking they will get relief from all of their debts - only to find out that student loans don’t qualify.
Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA)
If you are the spouse of a member of the US military, you may be eligible for educational assistance through the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program.
This program is funded by the Department of Defense and is intended to assist the spouses of military personnel in covering a large part of fees and tuition. If you are the spouse of a military person, check with your associated base or facility to see what the specifics are.
When considering a medical billing school or medical coding school, try not to base your decisions solely on cost. Getting a post high school education these days is getting more expensive, but it is an investment in your future and has a significant impact on you future earning ability.
If you can’t afford it right now, save up and plan for it. Reduce your lifestyle temporarily even if you have to “live like no one else” (shout out to Dave Ramsey!). Consider how much time and money it’s going to take to reach your financial goals and plan for it.
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