Medical billing and coding is a very technical medical career than most other medical support professions and it needs some specific knowledgeable skills from high learning institutions. This is a career that is highly in demand since there are so many health facilities that require the services of a medical billing and coding personnel.
A medical billing and coding specialist in a medical facility is responsible for maintaining patient records and facilitating payments and any refunds needed. As a medical biller and coder, you are supposed to code information so as to produce invoices that are sent to patients or insurance companies, then carry a follow up to ensure that the funds are finally paid to the health care facility you are representing. Without the services of a medical billing and coding officer, the healthcare industry cannot function at its best. Medical billing and coding has two major functions:
Each medical service has a numeric code that explains diagnostics, treatments and procedures. It is the duty of the medical coder to fill in the information in the healthcare facility’s database using the correct medical data to create a statement or claim.
A medical biller acts as the bridge between a medical facility and the party that is supposed to pay the services that have been rendered. In case the insurance company does not agree to pay the expected amount, a medical biller will investigate the issue and correctly update the data base.
As a medical billing and coding professional, it is your duty to enter patient information into computer files and where needed into paper records manually, organize, manage and arrange paper work which will include even clients charts. As patients take more diagnostic tests and get the needed treatment, you are supposed to update the dates in the clients chart and translate the data entered into alphanumeric medical codes. As a medical billing and coding specialist, you should ensure there is total confidentiality of personal information for patients.
A medical billing and coding job also entails the preparation of mail billing statements and submission of patient claims to insurance firms and any other third party payers. When the insurance firms settle out the medical claims, it is your duty to process those payments as a medical billing and coding personnel.
You will also be expected to record transactions and balance payments to specific patient ledgers, gather and run all the payments made to patients accounts, identify bills that are past their due dates and find ways of collecting those debts and make sure that the facility is compensated for all the services it provides. In cases where there are any conflicts arising due to payments or refunds, the medical billing and coding officer should resolve them in appropriate ways. Patients sometimes have a lot of questions regarding their billing so as a billing and coding officer, you should respond respectively to their questions in writing or on the telephone. Where you think there is some insurance fraud, you should investigate and report to the right authorities. You should also be able to give information and prepare correct documents for legal follow up.
Sometimes you may be required to perform clerical duties such as answering the telephone, greeting patients and giving directions, and sorting out mail in the office.
Education Requirements For Medical Billing And Coding
A medical billing and coding specialist should have an associate degree in medical coding or health information technology. The course work may include the following areas medical terminology, coding, computer data entry and privacy and ethics among others.
You should also have the necessary industry certification. Most employers prefer those candidates that have such certification for instance the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) or the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) designation. These certificates should be renewed yearly through online courses or in workshops.
Expected Salary of a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
The average salary for a medical biller and coder is affected by several factors such as the place of work, experience, geography, and level of education. The average medical billing and coding salary is about $36,000 per year or $17.27 per hour for those who entered the profession with very little education qualifications or none at all. For medical and billing specialists with a bachelor’s degree, they enjoy a much better starting salary that is more than $10,000 higher per year than their counterparts who lack the degree. Additionally, they have better chances for growth hence advancing into better paying positions.
Medical Billing and Coding Job Outlook
If you are interested in being a medical biller and coder in the health care industry, then I am sure you have some questions about the job outlook, which is often not include in the Medical billing and coding job description. According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), the job opportunities are set to be very good for medical and billing specialists. It is expected that there will be a growth rate of 22% up to 2022. This is more than the average in most occupations and it is due to the increasing number of baby boomers who are living longer thanks to medical advancements, new births and increase in immigrants. There is also an increasing demand for medical services due to changes that have occurred recently in the national medical insurance legislation.
If you are a good medical billing and coding specialist, there is a very strong potential of growth in this field. You can further your studies and enroll for a master’s program in medical billing and coding which will translate to a higher pay package through promotions to supervisory and managerial positions. There is also the added advantage of the ability to work from home as a medical billing and coding specialist. This is a concept that is becoming very popular and most employers are embracing it.