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Become a Medical Biller!
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Medical billing, as well as medical coding, is currently among the most in demand professions around the world. If you have an interest in the medical field but prefer administrative work over direct patient care then this is for you...

Medical billing is gaining ever increasing interest among job seekers and people who desire a meaningful career. A medical biller, either independent, or within a medical billing and coding firm, is usually hired by a doctor, healthcare facility, medical group practice, or Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). They land positions as in-house employees, or outside consultants for medical claims processing and streamlining the facility's medical billing needs. Their activities and knowledge brings in the money doctors and medical staff have earned.

How to Become a Medical Biller

Our Medical Billing Community forum moderator, Steve Verno, an experienced medical biller, author and independent medical billing business consultant has provided an interesting metaphor for us to understand what medical billing is all about. He said...

"Metaphorically speaking, medical billing is much like a river. It has deep parts and shallow parts. It can go straight or curve around bends. Its current can be slow and lazy or it can rush by so fast you have no control. It can be navigated, but carefully and cautiously. If you take a wrong turn, you can end up in deep water and up the creek without a paddle. If you don't heed the dangers, it can destroy you. The journey can be wondrous or boring. As the journey ends you can feel happy that you accomplished your goal, or you can arrive wet and miserable." ~ Steve Verno, Medical Biller

Duties typically include:

  • Medical billing processes
  • Medical Coding Levels 1, 2 and 3
  • Health insurance verification
  • Patient demographic registration
  • CPT, HCPCS and ICD-9
  • Charge entry
  • Claims submission (clearing house)
  • Payment posting
  • Account receivable follow up
  • Denial follow-up and settlement
  • Reporting
  • Compliance standards
  • HIPAA, Medicare, Medicaid, managed care, third party payers
  • Liability, workman's comp, preferred provider organizations and indemnity insurer's regulations

Most of the medical biller's days are spent at a computer desk in the claims processing office, the administrative billing and accounting department, or a private office, depending on the type and set up of the medical billing firm. The size of the facility, or amount of clients (licensed health care providers, practicing physicians) directly affects their weekly work load, but in general, most medical billers work 40 hours per week. Well trained and experienced medical billers posses the skills and ability to eventually become their own boss as a freelance medical billing service provider, or independent medical practice advisor from their own medical billing business.

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The best way to become a medical biller often comes from formal training in a classroom setting where medical billing experts teach their students the necessary skills. An experienced medical billing instructor, or mentor can present medical billing examples based on facts, present medical billing software they have actually used, and explain medical billing and medical coding situations they have actually encountered, handled, and know what is expected on the job.

Can medical billing be learned through home study?

The answer is yes and no. Many see medical billing and medical coding as two distinct disciplines, however, both embrace so many facets that overlap or go hand-in-hand that one couldn't exist without the other. The medical billing process can be easy if you know what you are doing, however, self-training may only confuse you. Unless your self-study material is very well laid out and focused on the right areas you might get lost, or overwhelmed, since it can also be quite intricate and complex. Formal medical billing training, which is readily available everywhere, even online, is the best route for most. While it can be extensive (notice, we said extensive, not expensive), it will provide the knowledge you need to handle a medical billing job:

  • Medical terminology
  • Insurance terminology
  • Claim forms and claims process
  • EOBs
  • Aging reports
  • AR recovery
  • Coding basics
  • Data entry and software
  • Basic medical office management and admin

Not only will this training teach you fundamental medical billing concepts but also introduce you to the latest technologies and processes that enables you to select codes that best represent the services furnished during a medical office visit, or a hospital stay.

Medical billing training typically requires the following courses followed by a practicum:

  1. Medical terminology
  2. Human anatomy and physiology
  3. Pathology and Disease Processes
  4. Computer applications and data entry
  5. Typing and keyboarding
  6. CPT Coding
  7. ICD-9 coding
  8. Healthcare laws and ethics
  9. Health Information Management
  10. Health insurance policies

Your education does not end upon graduation from a formal training program, even for the best medical billers and coders education continues throughout their entire career.

The rules and regulations, billing procedures, coding system, Medicare rules, technology, research and laws in health care constantly change, and so, professionals in the medical billing and coding discipline will always have to continue learning, refreshing, revisiting and enhancing their skills. The best way to continue learning is through seminars, workshops, online webinars, continuing education programs, magazines and courses offered from various groups and medical office and billing software vendors. Some of the workshops and webinars are free, others are quite expensive, but in either case, they are important and well worth the money and time spent.

More Money With More Training?

As with any job, wages are commensurate with experience and can be higher, or lower in different locations. American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC) states the average starting salary for Certified Medical Coders is approximately $35,000 per year. Experienced professionals may eventually set up their own medical billing and coding consulting business and earn additional income for seminars, coding review analyses for providers and freelance consulting to payers. An independent consultant will try to make as much money as possible by investing their time and skills accordingly.

Medical Billing Forum:
Medical Biller's Forum
Discuss common medical billing solutions, how to jumpstart your medical billing career, find a medical billing job, or how to start your own medical billing business.


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