31 Medical Coding Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 26 January 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Medical coding is a specialized skill that enables medical administrators to sort medical records and communicate with physicians, insurers, and patients about the status of their medical bills. Medical coders are in charge of coding and extracting data from various sources, including medical records, insurance claims, and test results. It is important to prepare for medical coding interview questions before attending an interview so that you can properly show your professional expertise in medical coding. In this article, we discuss how to prepare for a medical coding interview and review some common questions asked in a medical coding interview.

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How Do I Prepare For A Medical Coding Interview?

Medical coders may help hospitals and clinics to manage their information and billers. A hiring manager might ask you about your experience related to healthcare or if you have any special expertise. Companies may also ask you about your experience with a variety of computer systems, software, billing programs, and some general knowledge testing. They may also test you on your ability to listen carefully when reading through patient charts or insurance forms and may also ask you to provide specific examples of your past achievements.

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A hiring manager might also ask how you handle stress, what has been your experience with difficult clients, or time management. You may also get questions about any prior medical coding work that you have done and the equipment or technology you are familiar with using. You may need to be prepared for common behavioral and situational questions like explaining a time when you exceeded your work goals or how you collaborated with a team.

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Medical Coding Interview Questions With Example Answers

Companies hire medical coders to review and transcribe medical records. The interviewers may ask you specific questions to know how your skills, experience, and educational background relate to the open position. Your answers should show them your expertise in the field. Here are some common interview questions and their example answers:

How do you move forward after a claim denial?

Insurers and doctors may deny medical claims, which you then have to communicate in a patient's file and proceed with billing. This question allows you to explain best practices for helping a patient deal with a denied claim so they can pay their medical bills or proceed with treatment.

Example: "I find out the reason an insurer or doctor denied a claim, noting it in the patient's file. If they believe it is an error or wants to dispute the denial, I approach the doctor or insurer directly and ask them to explain the specific policy that led to a denial, then communicate with the patient accordingly."

In what medical specialties do you have experience coding?

Various medical specialties have different codes they work with. Be honest and upfront about the type of coding you have done in the past and your interest in learning different specialties in the future.

Example: "My main experience is in radiology, toxicology, and emergency medicine from my time as a medical biller at a local hospital. I am a fast learner and look forward to putting my knowledge of other coding specialties into practice at this clinic."

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What are the three main types of medical coding?

There are a few key types of medical coding systems and software. Show industry knowledge by discussing the types of coding software you have used for different coding systems.

Example: "I have experience coding with all the three main healthcare code systems: HCPCS Level 1, CPT, ICD-9, and ICD-10. I mainly worked with CPT at my last position, where we used a combination of computer programs to communicate with insurers and store medical billing data."

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How do you stay current on your understanding of medical codes and ongoing developments in the field?

Healthcare is a rapidly growing industry that regularly produces new codes and best practices. Explain to your employer that you commit to continuing your education and describe your strategies for staying up to date with medical codes.

Example: "As a certified medical coder, I am committed to keeping my certification current by taking all required continuing education courses. I also subscribe to several industry-specific newsletters to ensure that I know about any major changes to medical coding practices."

What is a write-off and how do write-offs affect your work with medical coding?

Write-offs are one of the primary concepts you have to deal with when billing patients. Understanding what write-offs are and explaining how you deal with them on a day-to-day basis shows that you are prepared to handle all parts of medical coding, not just data entry.

Example: "Write-offs in medical coding refer to the difference between the cost of a procedure and the amount an insurer will cover. I used write-offs to explain to patients how much they have to pay out-of-pocket, develop payment plans and help balance the company's accounts for reporting and bill collection."

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How do you determine your priorities when entering billing codes for patients?

Patients rely on efficient medical coding to get their medications on time and pay their medical bills to continue treatment. Your medical coding skills should include the ability to prioritize tasks based on their importance, keeping key deadlines in mind.

Example: "Before performing my data entry each day I scan patient files for any urgent billing needs, such as approving a patient's prescription medication coverage so they can proceed with treatment. After that, I address the oldest files first to ensure that patients do not have long wait times as a barrier to receiving care."

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What is your most recent experience as a medical coder?

Medical coders process medical bills, insurance claims, and other types of documents related to healthcare in a way that ensures the accuracy of the data. This job comes with diverse responsibilities like reading patient records and engaging in conversations with patients and their families about their health records. Sharing a recent experience in an interview can help a hiring manager understand your practical knowledge.

Example: "In my most recent experience I worked for six months at a hospital performing coding, documentation review, outpatient visit documentation review, and collaborated with a team to ensure we completed all projects on time."

Why did you choose medical coding as a career?

Medical coders enter, verify and update billing and insurance information. They must be able to understand a lot of medical terminologies. Hiring managers may also ask questions that focus on your goals and overall interest in the industry, along with personal questions such as why you want to be a medical coder.

Example: "I have always wanted a career where I could help people, and healthcare is an industry I knew I wanted to find a position in. As a medical coder, I can work together with a team to process payments and help patients accurately receive billing. I enjoy completing these tasks and find the work fulfilling."

What is your work ethic like?

A hiring manager may want to get specifics about your work ethic. Medical coders should be detail-oriented. They should be able to focus on their work while using a computer for multiple hours a day. This question can show a company your desire and tenacity for medical coding.

Example: "I take pride in everything I do, and I do not rush my work. I can use a computer daily and can finish large projects quickly. I do not stop until the daily work is complete."

22 Additional Medical Coder Interview Questions

Here are 31 additional types of questions you may be asked during a medical coder interview:

General questions

Here are general questions commonly asked during the interview:

  • What would you like the company culture to be like?

  • What qualities make someone a good coder?

  • How familiar are you with coding languages?

  • What are your strengths?

  • How do you interact with people at work?

  • Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?

  • What type of manager do you enjoy working with?

  • Do you have any additional certifications?

  • How do you stay organized?

Role-specific questions

Here are some role-specific questions you can expect in a medical coder interview:

  • How do you protect your patient's information?

  • Explain the difference between coding and billing.

  • How would you break down the cost of anesthesia?

  • What are some common mistakes made when coding and billing medical records?

  • How do you stay up to date with medical coding information?

  • What are some other examples where coding might look very similar for a procedure but is very different?

  • What is the difference between risk adjustment and diagnosis billing?

Situational questions

With these questions, the interviewer wants to understand how you react in specific circumstances on the job. Here are examples:

  • How would you help train a new medical coder?

  • When would you need to contact an outside agency for billing?

  • Would you rather work independently or collaboratively on projects in a team environment?

  • If given an opportunity, what would be the best way for this company to improve its current processes?

Behavioral questions

These questions aim to look at your past behaviors to predict how you could behave in the future. Here are some examples:

  • Tell me a time when you felt proud at work.

  • Can you tell me about some challenges you have faced during your career?

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