Medical coding is the process of assigning codes for services that are rendered at a health-care facility. Every procedure is defined with a code. The insurance company uses those codes to approve payments to doctors' offices, hospitals and clinics. Employment prospects are favorable for medical coders, though training is required. The training sometimes can be costly, but individuals who are unemployed, have a low income or are a veteran or spouse of a veteran can apply for grants.
Visit your local unemployment office and ask to speak with a caseworker who specializes in the WIA (Workforce Investment Act) program. Inform the caseworker that you would like to submit an application for a WIA grant.
Provide the representative with proof of residency (mail with your name and address on it); proof of identity (state-issued ID card); proof of citizenship status (birth certificate, Social Security card or green card); and documentation confirming your income (check stub). If you are unemployed, a current copy of your unemployment check stub or approval letter will suffice. In addition, the WIA grant is only available to individuals who are citizens of the U.S.
Complete the application, which consists of taking a basic skills test. The process may take several hours to complete, so be prepared to stay. After your scores are tallied, the caseworker will discuss your options with you. If you do not have a high school diploma or your test scores do not qualify you to attend a medical coding program, you will be referred to an agency that can better assist you with getting your scores to the appropriate level. However, if you pass the test, you will be allowed to move on to the next step, which consists of narrowing down training programs.
Research WIA-approved medical coding programs in your area. You will have the opportunity to select the programs you would like to attend. However, if you need help narrowing your options, you can contact your caseworker for more assistance. A due date is issued and you must make your top three choices before any funding is awarded.
Submit your top three choices to your WIA caseworker. The caseworker will contact the school to obtain a start date as well as the cost of the course. If the cost exceeds the amount of your WIA grant, the caseworker will move on to your next choice or try to negotiate the price with the school if all your choices have been exhausted.
Contact the approved school and register for classes after your caseworker has approved the start date and tuition. Once you have registered for classes, provide your WIA caseworker with a copy of your enrollment letter or school schedule. The school will receive a check on your behalf for tuition.
Based in Chicago, Kenyonda Bradley has been writing for online publications since 2008. With more than 10 years of experience as a hairstylist, she is also studying to become an elementary school teacher.