Medical coders update patient files using a universally recognized coding system (ICD-10 index) to ensure compliance with federal regulations and insurance requirements. They first decipher a doctor, nurse, surgeon, technician or nurse practitioner’s notes and determine which procedure and diagnosis code best reflect the treatment and services provided by the medical team.
Coders often must confer with the physician or medical team to clarify diagnosis and procedures to make sure they are interpreting the patient’s chart correctly.
Medical billing is a subspecialty of medical coding. Although there are programs that offer medical billing training by itself, a program that combines both billing and coding in one will be more complete, since medical coding is the first step in the medical billing process.
Medical billers take the assigned codes and the patient’s insurance information and enter them into the hospital or medical facility’s billing software and then submit these to the insurance company for payment. Medical billers will often have contact with both patient and insurance company after this data is entered. Billers also explain any charges or insurance issues, such as co-pays, to the patient.
Both of these jobs work together to make sure claims are processed accurately and thoroughly and that the medical facility or physician is paid for rendered services in a timely fashion.
Work at Home
annual median salary
Benefits of Being a Medical Biller and Coder
Here are just a few perks to consider:
- If you decide to work from home, you can start your home business with low overhead. You’ll need a computer and access to the medical software your clientele uses to get started.
- You can get your education online. Medical Billing and Coding is ideal to learn in an online program. You’ll be working online so why not study online as well?
- Completing your education can take as little as two or three months, depending upon your accredited school and program. You’ll be ready to begin working before you know it.
- As a medical biller and coder you’ll be part of a career field that’s always in demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts faster than average job growth for the job.
- Flexible hours may be part of the job. Hospitals, for example, are always open, so you might be able to work evenings or weekends if you so desire.
- Avoid the physical stress of other healthcare careers. Other healthcare fields that have fast completion times often revolve around patient care and the physical labors that come with it. As a medical biller and coder you’ll work behind the scenes, either in an office or the comfort of your home office.
Potential Careers and Workplaces
If this is the path you decide to take, you’ll find these types of roles could expand upon your initial education and provide advanced career options:
- Health informatics specialist
- Cancer registrar
- Electronic health records technician or specialist
- Clinical manager
- Hospital coding manager
You won’t just be limited to working in a doctor’s office or your home office however. Take a look at some of the workplaces you might choose to practice in as a medical biller or coder:
- Physician’s office
- Skilled nursing facilities
- Insurance companies
- Scientific services
- Technology support departments
Head over to our medical billing and coding training page to get answers to your questions.
Medical Billing and Coding Certification
Getting your degree and completing your accredited program are the first steps to success as a medical biller or coder. But if you’re dedicated to moving ahead of the pack and really excelling in your chosen career, you’ll want to consider earning your certification. Certification assures employers that you have the best professional qualifications to do your job. The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) offers several types of professional certifications and specialty credentials, as does the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). To learn about the different certifications and designations you can earn, visit our Medical Coding and Billing Certification page.
Medical Billing and Coding Programs
Online programs offer flexibility for people who may have family responsibilities, need to work while they attend school, live in a rural or remote area or are in the military, or may have a disability that makes traveling to a traditional school difficult.
Learn all about Online Medical Billing and Coding Courses.
You should have…
- Good concentration
- Excellent communication skills
- Basic computer skills
- High ethical standards
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