These days it’s harder than ever to find a reliable job which is in demand and which pays well. The recession may not seem like a conducive environment for advancing professionally, but you can look at it as an opportunity to enter a new field which offers a greater degree of opportunity. Medical billing and coding is a growing field which is attracting more and more professionals who want to earn a good salary while enjoying flexible choices as far as work environment and hours are concerned. If that sounds like you, read on to discover all about medical billing and coding jobs.
A lot of people make the assumption that medical billing and coding are one and the same profession, but they aren’t. These are two distinctly different jobs. There are professionals who do both jobs, but that does involve double the training, and you can make a great living doing just one or the other. Medical billing and coding jobs are classified as health information technician roles. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there is a swiftly increasing demand for professionals to fill these roles. While demand for most professions are projected to increase by around 10% between now and 2018, the demand for medical billers and coders and similar professions is expected to expand at double that rate.
Why is there such a huge demand for medical billers and coders? Medical care is an evergreen profession; no matter what changes take place in the world, people will always need medical care for their ailments and injuries. Physicians will always need to classify conditions, treatments and tests, which is why they will always need medical coders, and they will always need to get paid, which is why they will always need medical billers. Both are necessary adjuncts to physicians, clinics and hospitals.
All medical conditions, procedures, treatments, tests and services performed in hospitals, outpatient facilities, clinics and more need to be classified with numeric and alphanumeric codes for the sake of simple, streamlined communication. The information is much easier to search and analyze this way, whether it is a specific patient’s history which is being examined, or the services provided by an entire facility. Medical coding makes it easier to treat patients and also to make administrative decisions about a facility and its staffing.
Medical billers use the codes provide by medical coders in order to properly bill patients and health insurance companies for various tests, treatments and other services. It is also the medical biller’s job to follow up on all bills and to log payments, or figure out what’s going on if bills go unpaid. Medical billers can help sort out confusion, put patients on payment plans, or send bills to collections if necessary.
How much would you get paid if you became a medical biller or coder? Medical billers and coders can make anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 a year. The middle 50% according to the BLS make between $24,290 and $39,490. The median income in 2008 was $30,610. Medical billers and coders who work from home can expect to make anywhere from $10.00 to $25.00 an hour.
Why do some medical billers and coders make so much more than others? One factor which might influence your salary is where you work. Billers and coders who work for the government typically have among the highest salaries, while those who work in outpatient facilities and clinics tend to make the least amount of money. The part of the country you work in could have an impact as well.
The level of your training and your job experience can also play a role in determining how much money you’ll make when you work as a medical biller or medical coder. That’s one of the reasons it’s important to get the very best education you can at either a traditional college, a vocational school or an online school. These flexible options let you choose the best type of training to fit your own schedule and needs.
What will you learn when you train for billing or coding? For medical coding you’ll be taught about anatomy, physiology, and how to properly code various procedures and conditions into alphanumerical references which can be easily understood by hospital staff and physicians. For medical billing you’ll have to learn how to interpret these codes and then apply the proper charges. In order to process billing, you’ll have to learn information about the inner workings of health insurance companies and government programs. You’ll learn about customer service too, since a huge part of your job will be to stay in touch with patients and insurance providers and others. You’ll have to work out payment problems and make sure that the hospitals or clinics you represent get their money one way or another. Often times patients and insurance companies don’t understand their roles, so it can be a complex job at times.
When you decide to pursue medical billing or coding, you are setting out on the path to a rewarding career. Medical billing and coding aren’t just jobs, they are careers. The skills you learn can help you get a great job, but they can also help you strike out on your own and work as a contractor. That way you will always have a chance to find quality work with a great salary. With that kind of independence ultimately can come greater stability. Since the demand for medical billers and coders is increasing though, by the time you have completed an accredited training program there should be more openings than there are even today.
Medical billing and coding jobs are adaptable to your situation and schedule. Whatever type of work environment you prefer (hospital, clinic, home office, etc.), you can find a job to suit you. You can work full time or part time, and this is a wonderful option if you need or want to work out of your own house online. How do you get started? Just start researching medical billing and coding schools and pick a program which is perfect for you!