How Long Does it Take to Get a Medical Billing and Coding Certification?
The medical industry has long been a stable, rewarding place to look for a career. Becoming a doctor takes years of schooling, however, and not everyone wants to treat patients. Fortunately, there are several types of positions in a medical office which act as essential parts of how patients are treated. One of these jobs is working in medical billing and coding. This article will explain the basics of what medical billing and coding is, and how you can find a new, satisfying career in this field.
What is Medical Billing and Coding?
When a doctor sees a patient, usually that patient does not pay cash. Instead, the patient usually uses his or her health insurance to pay for the visit. Instead of dealing with the insurance company directly, a doctor will usually have a medical biller contact the insurance company and submit claims that way. Simply put, a medical biller is the middleman between the insurance company and the doctor’s office.
A medical biller can be either in the doctor’s office or work in an independent office. More and more often, independent offices are becoming popular because they offer quality service to doctors for less than it would cost to hire a medical biller in-office.
Here are some of the things medical billers will process bills for:
- Medical/healthcare services
A medical biller may have other duties depending on the actual office where he or she works. If you know a medical biller, it may be a good idea to speak with him or her in order to learn more.
Medical coding is a little different because instead of processing bills for insurance agencies, medical coders make sure the description of the procedures and tests performed conform to standard descriptions in the medical industry (referred to as “codes”). Some of the ways codes are used include:
- Physician billing and reimbursement
- Coding procedures and diseases
- Recording causes of death
Basically, medical billers work for doctors’ offices, and medical coders work for insurance companies.
As you can see, medical coding and medical billing is closely related. That’s why many programs offer training to allow you to become both a medical biller and coder at the same time.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Medical Biller?
You can start working as a medical biller or medical coder as soon as you’ve learned the necessary skills and terminology required for the job. You can also take courses or classes in one of the many certification programs available. You should be familiar with the following before seeking employment as a medical biller or coder:
- Insurance terminology
- Medical terminology
- Claim forms
- Claims process
- AR recovery
- Computer data entry
- Coding basics
- General anatomy and medical science
If all of this seems like a lot to learn, don’t worry: you don’t have to learn it all at once. There are many schools and certification programs which allow you to go at your own pace, learning what you need to become a medical biller or a medical coder at your own pace. Generally, though, you should expect to spend at least 6 weeks learning what you need for this job.
Can I Work at Home?
One of the great ways the medical coding and billing industry has developed in the last several years is the way medical coding no longer requires someone to work in an office. Many medical billers work online and make good money doing so. This is great for stay-at-home parents or someone looking to supplement his or her income by working at home.
What do Medical Billers and Medical Coders Make?
Depending on the amount of experience you have and what kind of work you are doing, it is possible to earn $40,000 per year working at home as an independent contractor. If you run your own coding firm, you can earn a salary of more than $100,000 per year. That’s not a bad income by any means!
A great thing to know about the online medical billing and coding business is that quality billers and coders are in high demand. The flexibility and availability of jobs in this industry make it a great choice for someone looking for a career!
Is Medical billing and Coding Right for Me?
Only you can decide if medical billing and coding is right for you, but if you’re a good typist, comfortable with computers, and can work without supervision, then this field may be right for you. Contact a program or training schools to learn more about courses or classes and to discover a new career. A good first step is using the School Finder on our right hand side to discover if an online or on-campus school is right for you.
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