Info about Medical Billing and Coding Careers

Medical coding and billing career is a comparatively new career stream, as far as careers in the health care sector are concerned. Medical billing refers to the practice of submitting the claims for reimbursement to an insurance company. In this career, you start working as a medical billing specialist, clerk or medical coding specialist. A medical coding and billing professional usually works in a claims office, medical billing department of clinics, medical offices, dental clinics, pharmacies, rehabilitation centers or hospitals. As a health care service provider, you are supposed to maintain and store medical records in a highly detailed and a specialized format. This format is specified by federal agencies and insurance companies. The coding is complicated and specialized due to the binding rules and regulations. Because of this, it requires you to obtain specialized training to do the documentation as per the requirements.

Need of Medical Coding and Billing

The medical codes used are alphanumeric codes. These codes are unique and specific to the illness, injury and medical procedures. This coding system is used globally across the health care system from clinics, hospitals and insurance companies. The documents are coded and preserved for the internal data collection purpose by the hospitals and clinics. This data, in turn, is used for reimbursement purposes by the insurance companies and federal agencies. The codes are also required by the international health organizations for tracking the disease patterns and treatment cost for various diseases.

Starting a Medical Coding and Billing Career

To become a medical coding specialist, you should complete one to two years of formal training in the medical coding and billing realm. The courses should be approved by the U.S Department of Education. The medical billing course or medical coding course teaches you about anatomy, diseases, pharmacology and health care management. Such courses also train you in interpersonal and computer skills along with the universally accepted medical coding conventions. If you aspire to advance in this field, you have to undergo special courses in biology or medical care.

Desired Skills

  • Excellent interpretation and analytical skills.
  • Accuracy in the coding, as even a minor mistake may lead to skewed results and confusion.
  • High level of proficiency regarding medical terminology.
  • Proficient in financial analysis and clerical skills.
  • Working knowledge of software and management of the electronic medical record (EMR) system.
  • Procedure of compliance with the HIPAA, knowledge of insurance rules and insurance fraud issues.

Financial Rewards

Your pay as a medical billing and coding specialist, or clerk, generally depends on the level of certification, training, experience and skills. The average annual salary for a medical biller is in the range of $33,370 and $41,506.

Advancement Opportunities

Regularly changing jobs from one type of employer to another leads to higher pay scales. However, if you have garnered enough experience in this field, you can also work independently from home. Under such circumstances, these clerks play a vital role in coding, billing, processing and closing claims' records.