Why You Should Pursue a Career in Medical Billing and Coding
Gone are the days when billers in healthcare institutions would manually go through multiple documents to determine how much a patient or insurance provider must pay.
Today, everything is done digitally, which is why medical billing and coding is a rapidly growing industry within healthcare.
What is Medical Billing and Coding?
Medical billing and coding are important elements of the healthcare system. They are often overlooked because they are not directly related to providing patient care. But when you really think about it, billing keeps all healthcare facilities going because money is the lifeblood of any institution.
Medical billing ensures that all hospitals and healthcare facilities get the money they need to function and that doctors, nurses, and other medical staff are compensated duly and on time.
Medical coding is the translation of all medical reports into established alphanumeric codes that computers would understand. A medical coder collects data from patient records and physician’s reports and translates them into language that will be transmitted and processed by the system. The output will be used by other medical professionals and the billing system.
The two are closely related because the medical biller will use these codes to generate bills and insurance claims so that healthcare providers are reimbursed for their services.
Medical billing and coding work together seamlessly using software like ISI Technology to simplify the process.
How Hard is it to Learn Medical Billing and Coding?
The word coding may seem intimidating to a lot of people. But is it hard to learn medical billing and coding? It really isn’t, especially for those genuinely interested in learning and who will put time and effort into the process.
Coding can be complicated because it involves a specific skill set. But all of these skills can be learned.:
- Attention to detail
- Data organization
Becoming a medical biller and coder entails specialized education where you will become well-versed in healthcare codes and classification systems. It requires training because you will be working with unique software for coding records and billing patients, which requires precision and accuracy.
Another vital skill you must develop is organizing medical billing records for optimal performance.
How Long Does it Take to Learn Medical Coding and Billing?
One can learn medical billing and coding in about a year or so. Various training programs are available, and you should choose one depending on your professional goals. For example, getting a certificate for entry-level jobs can be achieved more quickly than an associate degree.
Here are some of the basic educational programs in this industry, according to the Medical Billing and Coding Certification organization:
Medical Coding Certification
One could get a medical coding certification in 18 months or less, depending on the disciplines covered by your program of choice. The certification covers the basic healthcare delivery system, the medical billing process, and more.
A person who completes the certification program is expected to handle the following tasks:
- Medical billing
- Medical coding
Medical Coding Diploma
Full-time students can get a medical billing diploma in a year or so. The exact length of time to complete a diploma course depends on the institution offering it and the billing and coding lessons covered.
Students with a medical coding diploma learn about the following:
- Medical billing and health insurance
- Medical office procedures
- Healthcare laws
- Medical office procedures
- Healthcare ethics and confidentiality
Associate Degrees in Medical Coding
Those who prefer to pursue higher-level jobs and salaries in the healthcare coding field must get an associate degree. Depending on the courses and institution, this can be completed within two to three years.
Aside from theoretical learning, students are usually required to complete about 60 credits of coursework on medical billing and coding for the following topics:
- Medical law and ethics
- Medical office procedures with insurance
You can also contact your local colleges and universities and ask them about the medical billing and coding programs they offer. Some may have specialized programs not available anywhere else.
Many online courses for medical billing and coding certification or diploma are available for those who prefer them. Note that a significant element of education and training is hands-on experience, so students would have to complete virtual labs and online simulations.
How Much Does it Cost to Learn Medical Billing and Coding?
It’s challenging to determine the actual cost of learning medical billing and coding as several factors must be considered.
Getting a certification is much cheaper than pursuing an associate degree. Learning institutions price their programs differently, too. Depending on the program and the school, the same certification can have a price difference in hundreds of dollars.
Timeframes also affect the cost of each program. Certification in one institution may take less than a year, while another would require about 18 months. Longer programs are more expensive.
Another factor that affects cost is training. Academic learning is one thing, but practical experience is mandatory for associate degrees. This hikes up overall expenses.
According to Forbes, the cost of learning and training in medical billing and coding is anywhere between $800 and $17,000.
The investment is undoubtedly worth it because the average salary for a medical billing and coding job is $81,748, according to Salary.com. Depending on the position, salaries range from $36,836 to $126,661.
Tips to Learn Medical Billing and Coding Faster
If you are convinced that a career in medical billing and coding is for you, here are some tips to help ease the way:
You must be prepared to take on complex concepts about medical billing and coding. Augment your course by reading about it in your free time. It will help you absorb the lessons better.
2. Practice on the Computer
Refresh your computer skills. Get comfortable typing all day and do regular data entry exercises. Become familiar with Word, Excel, various formulas and Macros, and similar software you regularly use at work. Online tutorials are available for these programs.
3. Hone Common Medical Billing and Coding Skills
Medical billers and coders must have an excellent eye for detail, be very organized, and comprehend large amounts of data. These skills can be developed, and you should practice them throughout your education and practical training.
4. Brush up on Medical Terminologies
Healthcare is the center of medical billing and coding programs, so it would be easier to learn in this field if you are familiar with the industry. Again, do your reading and research medical billing trends and issues.
Why You Should Consider a Future in Medical Billing And Coding
The healthcare industry is rapidly growing, and medical billing and coding is a field that is gaining traction. It is generally a high-paying job because of the technicalities involved with the tasks. After all, it merges medical, financial, and coding knowledge.
It is a rewarding career—as in most healthcare services—that can be done at home, too. But unlike most other jobs in the medical field, the work hours are predictable.
So, learn medical billing and coding and consider a career in the industry. Gain more insight into the industry through ISI Technology, which provides software for medical billing and coding.