INSIDE: One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is about at-home medical billing and coding jobs. This article takes a closer look at this industry so that you can discover what it is, how much you can make, what’s required, and more.
Some of the most frequently asked questions I receive are about at-home medical billing and coding jobs.
Medical biller jobs have been advertised pretty widely for a long time, but a lot of people aren’t exactly sure what they entail. Today we’re going to take a closer look at the medical coding and billing industry.
What is medical billing and coding?
Whenever someone visits a doctor, many people work together to ensure that the health care provider gets paid by the patient’s health insurance company.
- First, a medical transcriptionist transcribes the doctor’s notes about the appointment.
- Then medical coders turn the transcribed files into numbers, using standard classification systems.
- Finally, medical billers use those billing codes to submit claims to the insurance company.
A medical billing specialist is responsible for correctly filing and following up on insurance claims. As a certified 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 office you’re working for.
At some practices, the medical coder and the medical biller are the same person, while in other settings, different people fill these roles. If you’re applying for a medical billing job, be sure to read the job description carefully so you understand the expectations.
How much do medical billers make?
As a medical biller, your education, certifications and experience play a large role in your income potential.
Salary.com lists the average salary for a medical billing clerk at $39,135 a year as of July 2020. But it notes that the range typically falls between $35,427 and $43,028, and says salary ranges vary widely.
The outlook for medical billing positions is good.
The health care field is expected to grow, and well-trained medical coders and billers are in demand nationwide. After all, doctors want to get paid for their services, and medical billers help make that happen.
According to the Career Step website, an estimated 50% more coding specialist positions are available than professionals to fill them. Medical coding and billing is expected to enjoy new job growth of 13% by 2026.
What educational requirements and experience are necessary for medical billing jobs?
When companies look for a medical biller, they want to see certain skills and experience on applicants’ resumes.
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 coding experience.
As a medical biller, you determine that the correct codes are assigned to each patient’s billing record. Any training you pick up should focus on the ICD-10 medical coding system and other medical codes.
You also need a solid understanding of anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, billing guidelines and industry standards.
Medical billing professionals have different options for this education, as well as medical coding certification. You can take a self-paced certification course online in less than 12 months at Career Step. Many colleges across the country also offer degree options, with both two- and four-year programs.
Professional coders frequently note in my community that most medical billing and coding jobs require you to work onsite for three to five years to get experience before you’re able to work at home.
However, Career Step students can sometimes go right to work at home because it partners with several companies that hire its graduates directly. If working onsite is a no-go, no matter what, Career Step’s medical coding and billing program may be a good fit for you.
What skills should a medical biller have?
In addition to having the medical knowledge you need for the job, a medical biller is 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’ll need to track multiple cases and follow up on each as needed.
You also must pay close attention to detail. You’ll be staring at numbers and charts for most of your workday and need to accurately record data. If you’re not interested in data, medical biller might not be the right job for you.
Strong computer skills are a must because a medical coding job is done almost entirely by computer. Make sure you have a solid handle on basic computer programs and can quickly learn new software.
Finally, because you’ll be dealing with confidential information, you need to be able to maintain patient confidentiality and ensure medical records remain secure.
If you don’t have work experience in medical billing, it’s important to show why you’re 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, combined with the education the health care company is looking for, can make your resume stand out.
How flexible is a work-at-home medical billing job?
Most remote medical billing jobs have set hours. You’re 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 your schedule better.
You also need to be able to focus on your medical coder job while you’re working. You must be able to pay close attention so you accurately record the data. So this position is probably not a good fit for someone trying to take care of kids while working.
Also, as noted above, many companies require all new hires to begin onsite. This way, they can oversee your training and ensure you’re ready to work from home reliably.
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.
Common job interview questions
If an employer reviews your application material and deems you a qualified applicant, you may receive an interview.
During this interview process, the potential employer will ask you a variety of questions about your background and experience, and how they relate to the position you’ve applied for.
The hiring manager might ask common interview questions such as:
- What would you do to handle a large workload?
- Have you handled a stressful job in the past and how?
- How would you 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 last job?
- 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
As with all industries, especially ones as well-established as medical billing, you must beware of scams. When you’re looking for positions or deciding on a company to complete your training with, watch for these potential red flags:
- The job pays much higher wages than others.
- The school guarantees you’ll finish your certification in a really short period (such as a month).
- The school is not accredited.
- The company wants you to pay a fee to begin your own billing company.
- The job seems too good to be true.
Listen to your gut and use common sense when applying for positions. Legitimate medical billing jobs and training programs are available, so don’t fall for a scam.
Who hires for remote medical and billing jobs?
Career Step has partnered with RCM Health Care Services, a provider of staffing solutions for more than 400 health-care institutions, to provide job placement opportunities for its medical billing and coding certificate holders.
Is becoming a medical biller one of your goals? Once you begin working as a coding specialist, you’ll gain the experience you need to move up the pay ladder and into top-tier positions.
If you need training or have questions about the outlook of medical billing and coding jobs, I highly recommend Career Step. Its training programs are designed by experts with decades of experience and are approved by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). More than 100,000 students have taken its programs!