Though health care facilities are all about saving lives, at the end of the day, they’re still businesses. They still need to earn if they want to ensure they can provide the right kinds of services to their patients. That’s why medical billing coders are highly needed in the industry. The good news is many medical coding positions are remote or telecommute, so you don’t have to report to any hospital or clinic to do the job. You can work as a medical biller in the comfort of your own home.
What career is this and what are its job functions?
Billing Officers are seasonal, part-time or full-time employees who work in the finance department. They collect payments from their customers on behalf of their company, maintain payment records, process denials and refund requests, write excuse letters, and mail invoices, to name a few. The only major difference between them and medical billing officers (coders) is that the latter work in a health care setting. They may also need to communicate patient information with health insurance
What are the specific benefits of pursuing this career?
The health care industry is fast growing, so there’s opportunity to get a medical billing job very easily. Despite what you may read in job posts, you do not need an accounting degree or be a college graduate with a financial background. The employer usually has a training program already in place.
Why is this type of career in demand right now?
Health care facilities are still operating a business. Thus, they’re looking for ways on how to cut back on costs, including hiring individuals and maintaining an in-house billing department. The different types of billing software also make the job very popular.
What type of person would love this career?
Medical billing clerks are very organized and display a high level of accuracy. They are sociable yet firm. They can follow directions both from the top management and from their respective managers or supervisors. They are honest, as well as analytical.
What are some disadvantages/obstacles in this career?
Because money counts for everyone, you shouldn’t make any mistake when creating your invoices and, most importantly, collecting your payments. You also have to acquaint yourself to the preferred software or technology of your client. That’s going to be tough if all your clients are using different types of applications for their billing systems.
What skills do you need?
At the very least, health care facilities will require you to have a high school diploma. Those who have two years’ experience in finance or billing can easily land a telecommuting job as a medical billing clerk. You should have great communication skills and understand basic accounting or bookkeeping procedures.
How do you break into this career?
You can begin as a billing clerk in any business and move on to telecommuting, perhaps a year or two later. You can also enroll in short bookkeeping courses that can help you manage invoices and payments of patients. If you’re eager to start now, show your potential clients
you are trainable.
Who usually hires in this field?
1) Nursing homes
2) Health insurance companies
What is the average pay rate / salary?
The median income for an entry-level medical billing clerk is between $28,000 and $34,000 every year. Billing supervisors take home more at $55,000. It can also go up to $75,000.
How and where to find jobs / clients?
Websites such as Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com and Indeed.com already have several postings for medical billing clerks and supervisors. You can also go to Craigslist, but you have to tread lightly there as scammers are abundant in the website. Moreover, you may visit the different health care facilities in your area, including hospitals, and ask if they’re willing to accept telecommuting billing officers.
- Medical billers usually work a typical 40-hour week. Many large health facilities are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so medical billers may need to work during the day, evening, and night shifts.
- Employment of medical billers and health information technicians is expected to increase by 20 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations through 2018. Employment of medical billers will always be in-demand because each year the number of medical tests, treatments, and procedures greatly increases. As the population continues to age, the occurrence of health-related problems will increase.
- Medical billers should look into becoming certified by taking an exam such as the CMRS Exam or RHIA Exam. This will not only expand your knowledge of medical billing, but also increase the likelihood of a company hiring you.
- To be clear on the payment of a medical billing claim, the medical biller must have complete knowledge of different insurance plans that insurance companies are offering, including the laws and regulations that preside over them. Large insurance companies can have up to 15 different plans contracted with one provider.
- Due to the rapidly changing requirements by U.S. health insurance companies, several aspects of medical billing and medical office management have created the need for specialized training. Medical office personnel may obtain certification through various institutions who may provide specialized education and award a certification credential to reflect professional status. For example, The Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS) accreditation by the American Medical Billing Association is one of the most recognized of specialized certification for medical billing professionals.
- Many start-up health facilities and insurance companies grow beyond their initial capacity within three years. When they are unable to cope with the amount of paperwork, they typically outsource their medical billing processes to freelancers, temp-agencies, and telecommuters.
- An entry-level salary for medical billing is $12 to $15 per hour.
Typical Job Responsibilities
- The primary Medical Billing Clerk responsibilities assist with billing backlogs and sometimes assists in Collections as well.
- A typical medical billing position requires one plus years of medical billing experience, and fast and accurate data entry skills.
- Employers usually prefer a medical biller to have a prior background working in the healthcare industry and might require Accounts Receivable/Collection experience.
- Entering patient demographic and insurance information into a computer system.
- Post charges to individual (patient) accounts, and make sure charge groups are balanced, printed and posted to a daily log.
- Investigate insurance company denials; and identify and bill secondary insurances.
- Post payments to accounts, and identify payments or adjustments that require review by the insurance company.
- One job duty of medical billing is sending certified letters, making phone calls, and obtaining supplementary medical records to prepare a “review” to send to the insurance company.
Employers prefer to hire medical billers who have:
- One to two years minimum experience in medical billing and/or collections environment (Medicare and Medicaid a plus).
- A High School Diploma or Equivalent
- Strong knowledge of MS Excel and Word.
- Computer data entry skills, 10 key by touch and 50 WPM typing skills
- Working knowledge of HCPCS coding.
- Knowledge of CPT and ICD-9 coding and medical terminology
- Ability to communicate professionally with patients, insurance representatives and co-workers.
- Understanding of basic bookkeeping and accounting functions to maintain records and logs.
- Understanding and adherence to HIPAA and Red Flag guidelines