When it comes to choosing a career, perhaps the two most critical factors that help you decide in favor or against it are the nature of work and compensation.
It’s important that you find the work interesting and challenging enough to sustain over a long period of time. Equally important is to know what to expect in terms of salary, so you are neither short-changed nor make unreasonable demands of potential employers.
In this article, we provide detailed description and salary range of one of the most promising allied healthcare jobs – medical billing.
Medical Billing Job Description
Medical billing is often performed in conjunction with medical coding. In fact, one function flows into another. That’s why many medical billers are trained in and often perform medical coding tasks as well.
Depending on your training, you can either perform both these functions or specialize in one.
But to understand its functionality, it’s important to know what medical coders do. Every day, tons of clinical procedures are performed at hospitals, offices of physicians, outpatient care centers, home health agencies, and other types of healthcare facilities.
Medical coders use universal classification system to assign codes to these procedures, so they can be interpreted correctly by doctors, health insurance carriers and other stakeholders.
A medical biller’s role kicks in once these documents, prepared by medical coders, reach their hands. Based on the information in these documents, they prepare and submit claims to health insurance companies of patients.
Insurance companies release payments on receiving these claims from the medical billing department of a healthcare facility. But like the proverbial slip between the cup and the lip, there are many hindrances before claims are settled.
So, a medical biller’s job does not end with sending claims to the insurance carriers, but actually includes following up with them; reviewing unpaid and denied claims; and making sure they are processed and settled by the insurance companies.
Providing customer service to patients, answering their billing related queries, and verifying their insurance coverage is also part of a medical billing specialist’s core responsibilities.
Medical Billing Training
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the standard academic requirement for this profession is a postsecondary non-degree award.
This means that vocational medical billing training programs or certificates usually suffice to enter the occupation, although two-year Associate degrees can also be pursued.
So far as vocational training is concerned, there are two options – a program that covers coursework in both medical billing and coding or one that is billing specific.
The curriculum may be slightly different for the two types of programs in that medical billing training will primarily focus on topics that are relevant for this function such as healthcare reimbursement methodologies, billing software, etc., but may also include a course or two in basic coding.
The curriculum of a medical coding and billing training program, on the other hand, will be equally distributed between courses in both these functions.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the median annual wages of medical records and health information technicians, of which medical billing is a part, was $32,350 in May 2010.* The top 10 percent earned more than$53,430 per year ** and that’s exactly where you should aspire to be if you have to join this profession because nothing less than the absolute best will do for you!
Nancy is a 36-year old stay at home mom of two. She worked as a medical assistant for five years before taking a break to be with her children. Her experience as a medical assistant gave her valuable insights in to the medical billing and coding industry, which she likes to share with others through her writing. Medical billing and coding programs often find mention in her writings. Her expertise in Medical billing and coding training stems from her extensive research on the subject.
Her other interests include gardening and baking. She stays with her husband and two daughters.