Do you have a natural ability to multi-task? Do you manage to stay organized even under mounds of paperwork? Are you professional and courteous when dealing with individuals in a variety of capacities? If so, then you should consider pursuing a career in medical billing and coding. Of course, before you can begin working towards a bachelor's degree in any field of study you must first obtain your high school diploma or the equivalent. Furthermore, the post-secondary learning institution that you choose to attend will likely require you to submit a copy of your ACT scores, a copy of your high school transcript, and letters of recommendation that demonstrate your character and your capabilities.
While it is not entirely necessary for individuals who want to work in medical billing and coding to have a bachelor's degree, it does help to make an individual more marketable and better able to advance in their career. Practically all four year colleges and universities offer a bachelor's degree program in health information that is designed to train medical billers and coders. Students who are pursuing this degree program can expect to complete courses in general education as well as more concentrated courses in management technology and information technology.
By obtaining your bachelor's degree you will be able to seek a higher level position as a health information manager or an information technology manager. Upon obtaining your degree you may also want to pursue professional certification through an organization such as the American Health Information Management Association or the American Academy of Professional Coders. Within these organizations it is possible for medical coders and billers to receive credentials as a Certified Tumor Registrar and as a Registered Health Information Technician. To obtain certification you will need to successfully pass an examination, have valid work experience, and hold your bachelor's degree. In order to maintain your certification you should be prepared to complete a specific number of continuing education courses.
In your profession as a medical biller and coder you will spend much of your time being a liaison between the administrative side of the medical industry and a patient's insurance company. Often, in your capacity as a medical coder and biller you may be referred to as a medical records and health information technician. Medical coders and billers work to make sure that a patient's medical procedures and treatments are billed to their insurance company appropriately. As a medical coder and biller, you will be responsible for assigning a code to each diagnosis and medical procedure that a patient has done and then submitting it to their insurance company for payment.
The codes that are used to represent medical diagnoses and procedures change quite frequently. In addition, it is common for different medical facilities and different doctors to use different forms of billing for their patients. For medical coders and billers this means a constant push to stay abreast of current trends and changes in relation to how insurance companies expect items to be billed.
What is one of the most important skills to have as a medical insurance biller?
You’ll need a lot of different skills but accuracy is probably the most important skill to have. You’ll be processing important paperwork to and from insurance companies that need to be accurate. Another skill to possess is having good organizational skills.
What kind of salary can I expect to have?
Salary ranges from $33,750 to over $50,000 per year depending on your experience as well as what area of the healthcare industry you work in. Private industry tends to pay less where hospitals will pay the most. The industry is expected to grow 20% per year.
What is the hardest thing for first time medical insurance billers to grasp?
Without a doubt is the amount of time you’ll spend on the phone dealing with insurance companies as the amount of requests needed to solve claims. Also dealing with clients is something that I didn’t expect would take so much time. Often the client is told one thing regarding their insurance only to find out they didn’t have the coverage they expected.
What kind of education is needed?
Earning your Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Billing Insurance will make your resume more complete vs. someone who had just earned their certificate. A degree will give you more experience and provide you with more courses on topics that will relate to your field.
What are the typical hours that you work as an insurance biller?
Most work full-time, especially if you are a medical biller for a hospital. Often with smaller companies they hire part-time workers and some that can work for home. I would recommend taking any job that you can find when you first graduate. This will not only give you valuable experience but allow you to continue to find new employment as many employers will want to see some job related history in the field.
Analytical – You need to be very detailed driven, especially since you have to work with so many medical coding codes and personal information.
Interpersonal – You need to have good people skills to deal with people, talk to billing departments as well as doctors and patients.
Organizational Skills – Since you’ll be working with patients and lots of different claims you need to be well organized. Doctors as well as the patents need good reliable information at any moment and someone that is well organized will have a great career in medical billing.
Integrity – You will be dealing with personal info from patients that need a high level of confidentiality. Having a good work ethic as well as a high level of ethics is what employers are looking for.
When evaluating a Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Insurance Billing be sure to find a program that covers all of the below course topics. These topics are key to becoming a successful biller.
- Medical Insurance Policies
- Medical billing and Allied Health
- Medical Terminology
- Medicaid and Medicare Policies and Procedures
- Understanding Insurance Policies
- Office Management
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Medical billing Software
- ICD-9 and ICD-10
- Musculoskeletal System and Respiratory Systems
- Legal and Workers Comp Claims
- Medical Pharmacology and Pathology Materials