Doctors everywhere rely more and more on professionally trained staff members for their daily office procedures. The same holds true for hospitals and their billing departments. Rapid technological advances deepen the need for highly skilled personnel. Billing practices have changed a lot over the years.
Medical billing procedures have become more complex as medical services are more and more specialized. Medical billers submit claims to health insurance companies or in many cases the government. Claims under Medicare are directly billed to the government. The medical biller seeks to recover the cost for medical and healthcare services provided to patients.
The medical office staff in a doctor’s office consists of several trained professionals. Each plays an equally important role in the daily operation of the office. Some doctors employ a medical coder in addition to the medical biller. This is a common practice if a doctor shares an office with one or several other doctors. Other doctors prefer a professional who is skilled in billing and coding.
Medical billing and coding are complex procedures, which require a lot of attention to detail. Only medical procedures that were actually performed by the doctor can be billed to the appropriate insurance agency. Sometimes these boundaries are a little blurred and the medical biller/coder has to decipher the doctor’s notes to be able to correctly bill the insurance.
Interaction with the doctor is very important to clarify what procedure was actually done in the office. A broad knowledge of medical terms and insurance guidelines/rules is crucial for medical billing jobs.
Billers have many duties in a doctor’s office. They send the claim to the insurance company, respond to requests related to the claim, and communicate with the patient or the insurance. Medical billers also send the bills out to the patients and turn unpaid bills over to collection agencies.
Medical billing and coding is a career that does not require the biller/coder to work directly in the office. Doctors often choose to employ a professional who works from home. Technical advances have made it possible for many part-time, and even full-time medical billing specialists to avoid the daily commute. This fact makes this occupation very attractive to many stay-at-home moms.
More and more medical billers/coders decide to specialize in a particular area of medical procedures. As medical procedures become more complicated, the billing process becomes more involved as well. Medicare claims are rising as baby boomers enter the retirement age and qualify for Medicare.
Constantly changing rules require the medical biller/coder to be up-to-date with the latest changes. Incorrectly filed claims will be returned by the insurance company and result in additional work.
Experienced medical billers can earn a good salary around $34,000- $40,000. Certifications and years of experience can lead to a career as a Medical Billing Manager and a salary that can easily top $50,000 per year.
Medical billing/coding is a very rewarding career that requires attention to detail and good interpersonal skills. This occupation offers many different options in regards to work locations. Common places of employment include hospitals and physician’s offices.