Are you looking for a job in the medical industry, but not sure what you can do which would only require minimal training? Are you intimidated by all the years it takes to get enough training to work with patients in a clinical environment, but eager to help out in the medical world? One of the best ways to get work in a hospital or clinic without spending a lot of time and money on schooling is to look for a job handling coding or billing for medical insurance claims. These jobs usually only take a few months of schooling to prepare for, and you may even be able to get all the training you need on the internet. Once you’re ready to embark on your career, you’ll find ample demand for new professionals in entry level positions. Medical insurance billing and coding jobs are some of the fastest rising professions in the country.
What are Medical Insurance Billing and Coding Jobs?
You’ve probably seen all the wanted adds for medical insurance billing and coding professionals, but you may not yet be familiar with these jobs. After all, when you’ve gone to the clinic or hospital, you probably never interacted with a coder, and you may only have interacted with billers over the phone. Both of these roles are crucial to the proper functioning of the medical environment, however, and without them doctors and nurses would have a very hard time getting things done.
Medical billers and coders both do behind-the-scenes work, mostly associated with processing payments. Hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, and government programs all have to communicate somehow about the procedures that take place in medical environments so that consistent charges can be rendered and paid. To try and describe objectively what goes on in medical settings, medical codes were invented. These codes include letters and numbers that summarize everything about a patient’s condition and treatments. The codes allow doctors and nurses to charge insurance companies and other parties for the services they render. Since the codes are recognizable to the companies in question, there are less likely to be questions arising from confusion as to the nature of a procedure.
In spite of this, however, questions often do arise, and insurance companies and others still tend to get confused as to what services were rendered and what payments are owed and by whom. Since insurance companies and patients often haggle about who is responsible for payments, it’s up to the medical billers to sort them out. Billers have to send out the bills in the first place, using the codes to make them clear, but they also have the job of following up on the bills. If bills are unpaid, there is usually a reason, such as the patient or insurance company not being sure who owes the money, or the patient being unable to afford a lump sum payment. In these cases the biller must help to clarify the situation to all parties involved and must set up a payment plan if a patient needs more time to pay a bill.
For many patients, trying to afford medical care is an obstacle secondary only to the ailment which requires treatment. Medical billers are in a position to actually help these patients to afford their medical bills by giving them the time which they need to pay them at their own pace. This can make the difference between whether a patient can keep getting help or not. In this way, medical billers are sometimes crucial to the healing of patients.
How to Get Medical Insurance Billing and Coding Jobs
Now that you’ve learned a bit about these two jobs, you may want to know how you get started on the route to becoming a biller or coder. First off, you’re going to want to figure out which job you are most interested in and best suited to performing. Ask yourself whether you are a “people person” or you prefer to work by yourself. Coders usually interact less and certainly have less contact with patients. Billers are customer service providers. While they do a lot of paperwork, much of their work also involves working with patients and representatives of insurance companies and government agencies. Coders do more data entry, while billers do more interpretation and problem solving.
After you’ve decided whether you’re more interested in billing or coding, you’re ready to get the education which is required for certification. This is usually just a couple of courses, and you can take them online if you want to save money. This isn’t a degree program that takes years of study; it’s a short course which earns you a certificate once you pass your exam and prove your knowledge is current and comprehensive.
After you get your certification you need to search for a job. You may be used to finding few or no openings when you search for work, but you may have more luck when it comes to medical insurance billing and coding jobs. With these jobs there is a lot more demand than you’ll find in other industries. Not only that but the demand is growing. You may have multiple options, so try and narrow down your search at first by the type of environment where you’d prefer to work. You may have a lot of choices or only a few depending on where you live. You also have the option of looking for a job online. Medical billing and coding are both legitimate telecommuting jobs.
Getting into medical billing and coding is pretty simple compared with most jobs in the medical industry, which require intensive training and a lot of money to invest into your education. You won’t be carrying out medical treatments, but you’ll still be helping patients to get what they need. As a behind-the-scenes worker in the medical world, you’ll be playing a critical auxiliary role which is necessary to the workings of the whole.