The healthcare industry continues to grow as the needs of the population expand. The demand for health care workers continues to increase as the population ages and new technological innovations come to fruition. Medical coding and billing is an exciting segment of the healthcare industry that continues to be in demand. In addition, the job offers flexibility that is beneficial for military spouses – a career that you can take wherever the next duty station might be.
Medical Billing and Coding Basics
Like anyone else who has ever been to the doctor's office, you have likely had your patient records coded and billed for insurance purposes. Each patient's record is appropriately coded so that it can be billed to the insurance company and payment can be received. At some doctor's offices, there may be two people handling this job — one who takes care of the billing and one who does the coding. Smaller medical offices could have just one person handling both jobs. A medical biller will likely have a balance of interactions via telephone conversations with the employees of an insurance company and inputting data. A medical coder, on the other hand, is tasked primarily with researching data and inputting the appropriate information codes into their proper locations.
Career Opportunities for Medical Coders and Billers
Medical coders and billers are employed in a fast-paced and in-demand career without clinical duties. It appeals to people who enjoy working in an office (or from home) setting within the healthcare industry. It also provides a great deal flexibility both in terms of available career opportunities and the locations of the work environments. The following gives you an idea of the opportunities possible for those people who choose to learn medical billing and coding.
- Medical office: A medical office is a natural assumption as the employer for someone who has medical billing and coding training. One of the advantages of working in a medical office is the variety of opportunities that you can enjoy. For example, if you want to work with a physical therapist, a pediatrician or a surgeon, it is likely that these offices all could use graduates of medical billing and coding programs. Another benefit of working in a medical office is that you will typically have daytime hours that will likely overlap pretty well with your children's school hours.
- Hospitals: While you might think that a hospital offers the same opportunities as a medical office, you might be surprised by the differences. For example, you'll likely have a variety of patient records to deal with in a hospital. In addition, some hospitals might provide you with the opportunity to work 12-hour shifts.
- Insurance Companies: When employed by an insurance company, a medical coder and builder is responsible for ensuring that the codes are covered under the insurance policy. In addition, these professionals check to be sure that the codes are used within the proper context.
- Independent Contractor: As an independent contractor, you're responsible for finding your own clients. You can also perform medical billing and coding online, catering to employers around the globe. Unless you have a well-established client base beforehand, though, it can be difficult to get started as an independent contractor in the medical billing and coding industry.