One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is about at-home medical billing and coding jobs. Medical billing is an opportunity that has been advertised pretty widely for a long time, but a lot of people aren’t sure what exactly it entails. Today we’re going to take a closer look at this industry.
What Is Medical Billing & Coding?
Whenever someone visits the doctor, many different people work together to ensure the doctor receives payment from the insurance company. First, a medical transcriptionist transcribes the doctor’s notes about the appointment. Then, medical coders begin the process of turning those transcribed files into numbers using standard classification systems. Finally, medical billers take those medical codes and submit claims to the insurance.
Medical billing jobs are responsible for correctly filing and following up on claims. As a medical biller, you play an important role in making sure payment is received. In fact, with experience, you can help increase the revenue of the medical practice you are working for.
In some practices, the medical coder and the medical biller are the same person. In other settings, multiple people fill both roles. If you are applying for a medical billing job, make sure to read the job description carefully so you understand what the expectations will be.
How Much Do Medical Billers Make?
As a medical biller, your credentials and experience play a large role in your income potential. Salary.com has the average annual salary for medical billers is just over $37,000 a year as of July 2018.
The outlook for medical billing positions is good. The medical industry is expected to grow, and your likelihood of finding a position is growing stronger. After all, doctors want to get paid for services rendered and medical billers help make that happen.
“Well-trained medical coders and billers are in demand nationwide—it is estimated that 50% more coding positions are available than professionals to fill them. Medical coding and billing, in particular, is expected to enjoy new job growth of 13% by 2026.”
What Education and Experience are Necessary for Medical Billing Jobs?
When companies hire a medical biller, there are certain skills and experience they want to see on resumes of applicants. If you want to go into medical billing, you’ll most likely need to get some education under your belt if you don’t already have relevant experience.
As a medical biller, you determine that the correct codes have been assigned to each patient record. Any training you pick up should focus on the ICD-10 coding system and other coding systems. You will also need to have a solid understanding of anatomy and physiology, billing guidelines, and industry standards.
There are different options for this education. You can take a self-paced certification course online in less than twelve months at Career Step. There are also degree options with both two- and four-year programs at many colleges across the country.
One thing to note that comes up frequently in my community from those working in this industry, most medical billing and coding jobs require you to work onsite 3 to 5 years to get experience under your belt before being able to get an at-home job. However, Career Step students are sometimes able to go right to work at home because of Career Step partnerships with several companies that hire their graduates directly. If working onsite is a no-go, no matter what, Career Step’s medical transcription and editing program may be a better fit for you as many of those graduating from their transcription program do go to work at home right away.
What Skills Should a Medical Biller Have?
In addition to having the full medical knowledge you’ll need for the job, you will also be responsible for communicating with physicians, patients, insurance companies, and others in the medical industry. Excellent written and oral communication skills are important.
Organization is key to managing your caseload. You will need to track multiple cases and be able to follow up on each as needed.
It’s also important that you pay close attention to detail. You will be staring at numbers and charts for most of your workday and need to accurately record data. If data isn’t something you’re interested in, this might not be the right job for you.
Since this position is almost entirely done over the computer, strong computer skills are a must. Make sure you have a solid handle on the basic programs and can quickly learn new software.
Finally, since you will be dealing with confidential information, you need to have the ability to maintain confidentiality and ensure information remains secure.
If you don’t have experience in medical billing, it’s important to show why you are still a qualified candidate. On your resume, be sure to point out any experience you have with:
- Data entry
- Customer service
- Organizing large workloads
- The medical industry
- Following set guidelines and processes
This experience, when combined with the education the company is looking for, can help make your resume stand out.
How Flexible is a Work-at-Home Medical Billing Job?
Most at home medical billing jobs have set hours. You will be responsible for working during your assigned hours. Some companies offer shift work, so you may be able to work evenings or weekends if that fits better into your schedule.
You will need to be able to focus on your job while you’re working. This means this position is probably not a good fit for someone trying to take care of kids while working. You must be able to pay close attention to detail to accurately record the data.
Also, as noted above, many companies require all new hires to begin on-site. This way they can oversee your training and ensure you’re ready to reliably work from home. If you need a position that’s entirely at home from the start, really flesh out these details during the hiring process. That way everyone is on the same page.
Interview Questions You Might Be Asked
If the company reviews your application material and deems you a qualified applicant, you may receive an interview. During this interview, you will be asked a variety of questions about your background and experience, and how they relate to the position you’ve applied for.
You might be asked questions like:
- How would you handle a large workload?
- Tell me about a time you worked in a stressful position.
- Explain how you would deal with an irate customer.
- Why do you want to be a medical biller with this company?
- What insurance companies do you have experience working with?
- What types of procedures were most commonly billed in your previous position?
- How will you ensure the confidentiality and security of all records in your possession?
Being able to confidently answer these (and other) questions will help you nail the interview.
Identifying Medical Billing Scams
Like all industries, especially ones as well-established as this one, there are scams in medical billing. When you’re looking for positions or deciding on a company to complete your training with, be sure to watch for these potential red flags:
- Paying much higher wages than others
- Guaranteeing you will finish your certification in a really short period of time (like a month)
- Non-accredited school
- Want you to pay a fee to begin your own billing company
- Seem too good to be true
Listen to your gut and use common sense when applying for positions. There are legitimate medical billing jobs and training programs, so don’t fall for the scams.
Who Hires for At-Home Medical and Billing Jobs?
If you get your medical billing and coding certificate through Career Step, they have partnered with RCM Health Care Services, a premier provider of staffing solutions for over 400 healthcare institutions, to give you more job placement opportunities.
Is becoming a medical biller one of your goals? Once you begin working as one, you’ll gain the experience you need to move up the pay ladder and into top-tier positions.
If you need training or have additional questions about the outlook of medical billing and coding jobs, I highly recommend Career Step. Their training programs are designed by experts with decades of experience and are approved by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). Over 100,000 students to date have taken their programs!