As a medical coding/billing instructor, I am frequently asked if medical billing is a good career path to pursue. I enjoy the opportunity to share my knowledge and expertise regarding medical billing as a career.
Due to the new healthcare legislation and aging of today’s baby boomers, the healthcare industry is booming. More people are accessing healthcare services, and this creates a huge need for trained medical billing personnel.
Let’s start by explaining what a medical biller does. After a patient sees the doctor (we call this an “encounter”), the diagnosis, procedures, and supplies used during the encounter are assigned alphanumeric codes by a trained medical coder. Then this record goes to the medical biller who will input the data using software and bill the payer. The medical biller will follow up with the claims and will fix and resubmit any that are not paid out. The medical biller will also call patients who have not paid their bill, which is called doing “accounts receivable.” The successful medical biller will know the basics of medical coding, but will not have the detailed knowledge of medical coding like a medical coding professional would have. The medical biller will also explain to patients about their insurance deductibles, and rules, if necessary. The medical biller also assists the medical office manager with compliance issues and keeps the office up to date on new rules and laws pertaining to medical billing procedures.
A medical billing career starts with excellent medical billing training. Training can be completed online at home. Training typically takes about 8-12 weeks. After training, a person can work in a medical office, clinic, or hospital as a medical biller. I’m frequently asked if one can do medical billing from home. The answer is “yes,” but this should be done after one has some experience in the industry. Less than scrupulous medical billing schools will advertise that you can easily and quickly start your own medical billing business right after school. They forget to mention that the expense to do this can be costly including high costs for software, marketing, etc. Working at home as a medical biller can be done and can be lucrative, but starting out in a medical office or clinic first is preferable.
Good medical billing courses should contain the following medical billing classes: medical terminology, medical billing training that includes a top-of-the-line text, and interaction with an experienced medical billing instructor. The AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders) now has a new medical billing credential that is available. A good medical billing course should prepare the student to sit for national certification board exams. The Meditec/360 medical billing course does, indeed, prepare students for the AAPC medical billing credential. In fact, we use the same textbook that they do, and it is the gold standard for teaching medical billing.
So, is medical billing a career that is hot or not? You be the judge. There are jobs available and the field is growing. Pay starts at about $12-$15 an hour and goes up with experience and certification. One can train in as little as 8-12 weeks’ time, and training can be successfully done at home online. If you are detail oriented, enjoy learning new things, like working in a medical office, then this very well may be the career path for you.