Have you ever thought of getting into a medical bill and coding jobs? While some people thought it to be very intimidating (maybe because of the requirements for the job), it’s actually satisfying, and well, it does help a lot to pay the bills and a little shopping spree.
I am a new mom, and right after giving birth, I decided to stay at home and be a mom full-time. I know, for sure my story is not unique. For sure some if not a lot of you here are in the very same position as I am. But you know what? When I became a full-time mom, it was then that I realized, while giving up a regular office job is quite difficult for some, for those who are aware that work from home exits, it totally is not.
I used to think that my career is over when I quit my job. But actually, quitting my job opened up new doors for me like getting into the medical bill and coding jobs. I was not aware that this particular job exists until I got to talk to a friend who happens to be one.
She told me how she gets into this job, and right there and then, I knew I wanted the job. I have this childhood dream of getting into the medical field. It’s like frustration for me that I did not end up in it. But, I was amazed that while I won’t be a doctor or a nurse, medical bill and coding jobs give you that certain feel of working in the medical field, even when in fact, all you’re going to do is deal with patient documents and all that.
Just to tell you, I do not have a medical background. Not at all. But yes, I was able to work for a medical bill and coding job all because I did go through the process. Later on, I will be sharing with you the process that you need to go through to get into the medical bill and coding jobs.
Before anything else, let me share with you first some basic information about the medical bill and coding industry.
What does a medical biller and coder do?
If you wish to get into the medical bill and coding jobs, you must first be aware of what the job is all about. You know, make sure that before you jump into it, you know where you are putting yourself into.
Anyway, medical billers and coders or often called as medical billing and coding clerks or medical billing specialists are considered as health information professionals whose primary task is to work in medical facilities like clinics, doctor’s offices, hospitals, and other healthcare institutions. Their responsibilities revolve around reading the information that the doctor has recorded during the patient’s visit and then translating that information into billable codes. These codes represent standardized pricing agreements, which were made with insurance companies as well as other parties that are liable for the costs of healthcare.
In a simpler definition, what medical billers and coders is to use medical codes to document the patient’s diagnoses and treatments for the purpose of medical insurance. Furthermore, there are other most common duties of medical billers and coders:
- Read and analyze patient records
- Find out the right codes for patient records
- Use codes to bill insurance providers
- Keep track of patient data over multiple visits
- Manage thorough, specifically-coded information
- Maintain patient confidentiality and information security
- Communicate with physicians and assistants to ensure accuracy of data
In the past, medical billers and coders work on-site, but because of technological advancement, and also because the institutions saw how work from home medical billers and coders are equally efficient as those on-site, many companies have eventually outsourced home-based medical bill and coding jobs.
Although there may be instances that you will need to interact and communicate with doctors and their assistants to ensure accuracy of data, most of the time, medical billers and coders can work independently even while away from whatever happens within a health care facility.
What are the requirements to get into medical bill and coding jobs?
Here’s the thing, unlike other work from home jobs that may allow anyone, of any educational and professional background to get into the job, landing into medical bill and coding jobs require specific qualifications. I guess it is safe to say that not all people can work as a medical biller and coder unless he or she meets the requirements for the job.
In most medical bill and coding jobs, companies require specialized education in this field. Normally, medical bill and coding education is done through certificate, diploma or associate’s degree programs. The difference among the credentials would be the duration of the program, as well as the amount of general education required.
In some cases, medical billing and coding are separated into two different positions. However, most of the educational or training programs available online and offline cover both topics, which is actually better regardless if you just want to pursue one instead of two. Consider that as additional education that you can eventually explore in the future.
By the way, remember I said I do not have a medical background? For me to be able to get into medical bill and coding jobs, I had to go through a medical bill and coding certification program online. Yes, it’s available online, which makes it perfect for a stay at home moms like me who could hardly go out or leave the house without the tagging the baby along.
To give you an idea, here are some of the course that must be taken during medical coding and billing programs if you wish to find a medical bill and coding jobs in the future:
- Diagnostic coding
- Insurance and billing
- Medical terminology
- Pharmacology for health information
For your information, some medical billing coding programs, including those offered online would require a practicum or other real-world experience to be completed before you graduate on the course. Good thing is, there are a lot of programs designed to provide knowledge that a person needs to pass a certain certification exam after completion of a program. Before getting into any program, please make sure that the program fits the certifications and education required for your case.
What are the certifications available for medical billing and coding?
If you want to succeed in medical billing and coding industry, you must, first and foremost, acquire the required certification for medical bill and coding jobs. Although in some cases, the certification is not required, there are still a lot of companies that prefer those with certifications.
In the area of medical billing and coding, the available certification is handled by organizations such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC).
On one hand, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) and the Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) qualifications. Among the two, CCS is more advanced, and it demonstrates a higher degree of mastery. Also, to acquire CCS, you must have previous credentials, experience, or a list of specific courses common on medical coding programs completed. As with CCA, to obtain such certification, you must possess a high school diploma or equivalent, as well as passing a certification exam. While the completion of an approved program is recommended, it is not necessarily required.
The American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC), on the other hand, offers the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Professional Biller (CPB) credentials. AAPC also hosts more specialized certifications that are mainly relevant only to those who are working in a specialist doctor’s office like rheumatology and urology.
For the CPC credential, it requires membership in AAPC, at least 2 years of experience, as well as passing the exam. While it is not required, having an associate’s degree is recommended. As with CPB, the requirements are just quite similar. However, it does not require work experience, which makes it ideal for people like me who have no work experience as a medical biller and/or coder in the past. Do note that all AAPC certifications are separate from one another. It requires the passing of each certification on its own.
How much does a medical biller and coder make?
Now that you already what a medical biller and coder does and the certifications required to be one, let’s move on to the salary information.
While there are several bases for salary when you check online, here’s what I gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States. According to BLS, the median annual salary for medical records and health information technicians (where medical billers and coders belong) was at around $40,000 in 2018. That means you get to earn around $3,300 monthly as a medical biller or coder. To be honest, that’s very fulfilling considering that it is a work from home job. It totally rocks, right?
Here’s more! Still, according to BLS, there is an expected increase of 13% for the ten-year period between 2016 and 2026. Honestly, this is absolutely incredible! No wonder why a lot of people are becoming interested in the medical bill and coding jobs! There really is an amazing future ahead in this industry.
Why you should consider the medical bill and coding jobs?
You know, apart from the salary, there are a lot more reasons to help convince you why you should consider getting into the medical billing and coding industry. Let me share with you some:
- The work is rewarding.
Whether you agree with me or not, working with healthcare is rewarding. Imagine, you get to contribute directly to saving lives every single day. Well, of course, not as a doctor or a nurse, but as a medical biller or coder.
There is a sense of satisfaction knowing that you are able to help save the lives of other people, and even your families, relatives, and friends too! It’s something that you can’t get anywhere else or from any other job out there.
With just a few months training, you get to be a medical biller and/or coder, and you get to play a vital part in keeping costs down, reducing medical mistakes, as well as helping ensure that there is a free flow of information about a patient’s medical history.
- You get to work in the medical industry.
As a medical biller or coder, you get to work in the medical field without having to get to medical school! If you are like me who happens to be a frustrated doctor, you will love being able to work in the medical industry. Yes, I am not saving someone else’s life the way doctors do, but I get to help people still.
- You can start a new career in a few months’ time.
Based on my personal experience, it did not take me years to finish my medical billing and coding courses. What I like about it is that immediately after, I got to take the certification test, luckily I passed, and then, I started looking for medical bill and coding jobs. In less than a month, I got a job!
It was that fast! And as the saying goes, since I get into medical billing and coding, my life was never the same again. Honestly, at this stage in my life, I never thought getting into a new career is still possible. I am just so glad I did have that talk with a friend. Otherwise, I won’t be in the position where I am today. I hope by reading this, I get to help you too, and who knows? We might end up with the same story too?
- The job has a lot of shift flexibility.
As a stay at home mom, I must admit that before I even jump into medical billing and coding, I made sure that the job will let me work anytime. Of course, my priority is my child and my family’s needs. Work comes second.
Good thing is that I found out that medical bill and coding jobs offer a lot of shift flexibility. Most institutions that offer medical bill and coding jobs operate 24/7, which means there is a need for people for all kinds of shifts. You can choose to work at the best time for you. That could be at night, in the morning, during mid-day – whatever works best for you.
- Work from home is available.
Of course, of all the benefits of working as a medical biller and coder, the ability to work from home is the best! Thank goodness that healthcare providers nowadays are keeping up with technology. Otherwise, work from home for medical billers and coders will not be possible.
As a medical biller and coder, your work is mostly done on a computer – precisely the reason why most health care facilities have opted to outsource independent medical billers and coders these days.
- There’s an opportunity for career growth.
Of course, who would want to get stuck to a certain post forever, right? Well, while there is totally nothing wrong with that, some people just prefer to climb up the career ladder. Good thing is that this industry offers career growth opportunities. Basically, all you have to do is get certified, work in the medical billing and coding industry, and by doing so, you get to expand your skillset and could potentially move up the career ladder. Who knows, when you are ready to work on-site again, you might just be able to land a healthcare administrator post.
- There are plenty of companies that offer medical bill and coding jobs.
Guess what? There is an increasing number of companies that offer medical bill and coding jobs both on-site and work from home posts. In fact, all you have to do is choose the one that best suits you! As mentioned earlier, this industry is growing. And as it grows, more and more job opportunities are opening up.
So, do not worry about not being able to land a medical billing or coding job, because honestly, there are plenty of them.
To give you an idea, some of the companies that offer medical bill and coding jobs are the following:
- Change Healthcare
- Maxim Healthcare Services
- UnitedHealth Group
- The Coding Network
- Conifer Health Solutions
- Himagine Solutions
There you have it! I know, getting into something new can be quite overwhelming, challenging, and sometimes intimidating, but as long as you put your heart into it, everything will turn out fine. Also, I guess it is also healthy to accept challenges and push yourself to do something out of the ordinary sometimes – regardless if you are a mom or not.
With all that’s been said, I hope I was able to convince or at least inspire you to consider getting into the medical billing and coding industry. If you think you are up for the challenge, don’t worry, you will surely land in any of the medical bill and coding jobs available out there. Good luck!