In today’s unpredictable job market, recession-proof jobs are more sought after than ever. Jobs in medical coding and billing are for the most part recession-proof. Doctors and hospitals rely on non-medical professionals for many services and duties. Highly skilled professional ensure a smooth operation.
Medical procedures and the correlating billing procedures have become increasingly more complex than they used to be. Many doctor’s offices as well as hospitals employ medical billers and medical coders. Others opt to find a professional who can fulfill both job duties.
Medical coders work in close contact with the medical biller. The coding of medical procedures starts after the doctor has rendered his/her notes and before the paperwork is submitted to the biller. The biller then compares the doctor’s notes with the codes he/she received. The billing process is very complex and requires an extensive knowledge of medical terms and procedures. Coding also requires attention to detail. A medical coder works closely with the physician and other medical staff. Interpersonal skills are a must have skill in this profession.
A medical coder has to be very self-sufficient and self-motivated. Research skills may be required to fully understand a new procedure and to be able to code it correctly. Staying up-to-date with the newest advancements and newest codes can be a challenge for many. Medical coders who are self-sufficient are more valuable to the physician.
In an office setting, in which the medical coder also fulfills the duties of the medical biller, patient related skills are necessary. A coder/biller may be required to talk to patients on a regular basis. Command of the language and the ability to express his or herself in a clear, easy to understand way, is a crucial skill. Explaining complex medical terms to patients is a skill in itself.
Medical billing/coding is an occupation that is very attractive to stay-at-home moms. Many physicians and hospitals allow their medical personnel to work from home on a part-time or even full-time basis. The daily commute to the work place takes a lot of time. Americans spent an average of 1.5 hours a day traveling to their place of employment.
Technological advances have made it possible for many professions to avoid the commute and work from home. The salary of a medical coder depends largely on his/her experience as well as on the part of the country he/she works in. Working in an area with a high cost of living, a coder can expect to make $15.00 to $20.00 an hour. Such an area would be Boston for example.
Areas with a lower cost of living may do not pay as much. An entry-level position may only pay between $11.00-$15.00 an hour. After five years, the salary is around $19.00 an hour. Advanced training and specializing in a particular medical area can have an impact on the salary as well.
Medical coders/billers can be self-employed as well. Depending on the hospital/ physician/ private practice they work for, the salary can vary quite a bit. Medical billing/coding is a rewarding, recession-proof occupation that offers flexibility to the professional.