If you’re considering becoming a medical biller and coder, you are probably weighting the positive and negative aspects.
Medical coders and billers play an important role in the healthcare system, making sure that medical offices run smoothly, patient visits are recorded carefully, ensuring that insurance companies pay the medical office on behalf of the patient.
Like any career, there are good and bad parts to being a medical coder or biller. In this article, we will look at the pros and cons of being a medical biller and coder.
How Do You Become a Medical Biller and Coder?
The State of California does not require that you become certified to work as a medical biller or coder, but most employers will favor candidates with a certification. It is possible to receive billing and coding training on the job, though most medical offices are seeking fully trained and certified applicants.
Most medical billing and coding certification programs can be completed in less than a year, with some degree programs taking about two years. These are the basic step to becoming a certified medical biller and coder.
1. Choose a Medical Billing and Coding Training Program
There are different schools that offer training programs for medical coding and billing. Look for an accredited program with a robust curriculum and high placement rate. These are good indicators the medical billing program will prepare you for an entry-level job.
2. Complete the Billing and Coding Program
The coursework in your training curriculum should cover physiology and anatomy, health insurance, claims processing, electronic health records, legal issues in healthcare, and CPT, HCPCS, ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS coding. Your medical coding program should also prepare you for the certification exam. Some programs also provide an externship, where you can get hands-on practice in the field.
3. Pass the Certification Exam
There are different exams that each medical billing and coding program prepares you to pass. With the certification program at Campus, you are prepared to take and pass either the Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS) or Certified Coding Associate (CCA) certification exam. Campus is endorsed by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and American Medical Billing Association (AMBA). Once you pass the certification exam, you will be fully prepared to launch your career in medical billing and coding.
4. Apply for Jobs and Start Your Medical Billing and Coding Career
Employers are looking for qualified billers and coders with professional skills, experience, and knowledge. Put together a resume that highlights your training, experience, and skills. Visit job boards and apply to positions that meet your needs.
What Does a Medical Biller and Coder Do?
A medical coder transcribes what happens during a patient visit so that insurance companies and health organizations can understand it. Medical coding takes information, such as a physician’s diagnosis, patient symptoms, or a doctor’s prescription, and turns that into numerical or alphanumerical codes. These codes describe each injury, diagnosis, prescription, and medical procedure. This is important for both the patient’s medical records, the doctor’s office or hospital, and the insurance claims processor. The medical coder everything that happens during a patient appointment.
This information is used by the insurance provider to fill the claim, and pay the medical office on behalf of the patient. Accuracy is very important, so that the insurance claim is properly paid.
A medical biller takes the coded transcript of the patient visit, and inputs that information into special software. This information is submitted to the patient’s insurance company as a claim.
After the insurance company pays their portion, the remaining amount is billed to the patient. Any co-pays and deductibles are figured into this revised amount. Medical billing, like coding, relies on accuracy and attention to detail.
The medical billers and coders work together to make sure patient visits are recorded accurately, and that record is passed on to the insurance providers, so the medical office gets paid correctly, and the patient is billed for the remaining portion accurately. Billers and coders are an essential part of the healthcare system, interacting with the healthcare provider, insurance companies, and patients.
Pros of Medical Coding and Billing
1. It’s a Rewarding Job
For people who like to work independently, and are motivated to get things done without being micromanaged, medical billing and coding is a great career choice.
Medical coding and billing is a good way to start your career in healthcare, help patients, and earn a decent living.
2. You Can Work From Home
Medical billing and coding is often a remote job, meaning you can usually work from home. This also allows you to pursue contract and freelance medical billing jobs.
By saving time and effort by not commuting, this career can also reduce your stress, and help you achieve better work/life balance.
Many medical offices were already taking medical billing jobs remote, but in the aftermath of the pandemic, this became one of the jobs that has become almost entirely remote. Electronic health records have made this a job that allows medical billing specialists to work from anywhere they have a broadband internet connection.
3. Complete Your Training Quickly
Some medical industry jobs require several years of education. Medical coding and billing specialists can often complete a training program and earn certification in less than a year. Note: Campus, formerly known as MTI College, has a Medical Billing and Coding program that gives students practical skills and certification in about 40 weeks.
4. Online Training is Available
Many accredited schools have online training programs for medical billing and coding. Since the training does not include clinical, hands-on training, the education can be completed entirely through online training programs.
5. Training is Relatively Inexpensive
Since medical billing and coding programs are usually a year or less, the cost of completing training is less than other two-year or four-year medical programs.
6. Good Work For Introverts
If you do your best work alone, focused on your job, away from other people, medical billing and coding may be an ideal job for you. Since the work is almost always remote, you can work from a home office, and avoid being around other people.
7. Work As an Independent Contractor
Many billers and coders work as independent contractors, not as employees. Medical coders and billers who work as 1099 independent contractors may work alone or in a team of contractors.
8. Steady Job Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of jobs for medical billers and coders will increase by about 7% between 2021 and 2031. This increase is due to expanding health services in some markets and churn due to retirement. There can also be more demand in certain markets.
9. You Can Work from Anywhere
One advantage of this career is that any city with medical offices and hospitals needs medical billers and coders. You could potentially stay in your current location, or move to a different city if you chose. Doctor’s offices, medical facilities, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers all need medical billing and coding specialists.
10. You Can Earn a Decent Living
The median range for medical billing specialists in 2021 was $46,660. Entry level billing and coding specialists may earn less than that, but the highest 10% of all coders earned about $74,200 in May 2021. More pay usually requires earning specialized medical coding certifications, and is also dependent on the local job market, and the medical facilities at which you are working.
11. Flexible Schedule
Most medical coders and billers work Monday through Friday, though some billing and coding jobs allow a flexible schedule, as long as you get your work done in a timely manner.
12. Opportunity to Learn New Things
The technology in the billing and coding job is constantly evolving. Additionally, the standardized coding is updated every few years. The job is not stagnant or boring, and if you enjoy learning new things, it can be a job that stimulates your thinking.
13. Start of a Medical Career
Some billers and coders go on to continue their education and become medical assistants, nurses, or go into healthcare management. Medical coding and billing is a relatively quick way to start a healthcare career that can go in different directions.
14. Medical Coding Tends to Pay More than Billing
In entry level positions, medical billing tends to pay a bit less than medical coding. If you pursue specialized medical coding certifications, you can end up earning more as time goes on.
Cons of Being a Medical Biller and Coder
Employers want to hire qualified medical coding and medical billing candidates. More than anything, they want to have confidence that a medical coder can accurately transcribe a patient visit with speed and precision. With that in mind, here are some of the biggest downsides to medical billing and coding.
15. You’ll Need Technical Training
Most employers are looking for candidates who are fully trained and certified. Though some states do not require medical coding certification, there are numerous technical codes you must know, and many employers do not have the bandwidth to do on-the-job training. Coding and billing have a direct impact on the bottom line of the medical office and the patients bill, so getting the information coded correctly leaves no room for error.
Your best course of action is to enroll in an accredited training program for medical billing and coding to work in this field.
16. Certification and Re-Certification
Because the coding standards are updated every few years, re-certification is highly recommended. Information on re-certifying for each specific medical coding certificate can be found with each certifying body.
17. Computer Skills are a Must-Have
Almost all the work you do as a medical biller and coder will involve using a computer. If you are not tech-savvy, or if you struggle with using computer programs, this will be a difficult career for you until you become more familiar with learning and using medical software.
18. Advancement Requires Additional Certificates or Degrees
Once you begin your career as a medical coder or biller, you may notice there are different types of billers and coders. For example, there are Certified Professional Coders, Registered Health Information Technicians, Certified Tumor Registrars, and more. Some of these positions will require additional specialized certifications. Some medical coders also go into teaching, consulting, or auditing. There is always room for advancement if you are willing to continue your education.
19. Requires a Great Degree of Accuracy
This detail-oriented work affects patient billing and future treatment, as well as patient medical records. Mistakes are not an option. Medical coding requires deep analysis, review, and connecting the existing medical records, ensuring the patient appointment is recorded in intricate detail, with complete accuracy.
20. Learning New Codes and Regulations
As the medical codes that are used to record patient visits are updated, coders and billers must also keep up with these changes. Likewise, as regional and national regulations chBange, you will need to keep up with these changes.
21. High Competition for Jobs in Some Areas
In smaller cities or towns, there may be fewer billing and coding jobs. Large cities tend to have a greater number of healthcare jobs, including positions for medical billers and coders.
22. Carpal Tunnel is a Risk
Because most of the work involves typing and inputting data on a computer, carpal tunnel syndrome can be a risk. Be sure to take adequate breaks from typing, and use ergonomic best practices to reduce the risk of damage to nerves and ligaments in your wrist and hands.
23. It Can Be a Sedentary Job
Most of the work is done on a computer, so you may end up sitting in your office chair. One way to nullify the negative effects of a sedentary job is to invest in a standing desk, so all your work isn’t done sitting done. You must also make sure to get adequate exercise and upright mobility throughout the day.
24. Tends to Be Repetitive Work
There are times when the work can seem monotonous and repetitive. You must still strive for 100% accuracy and keep your focus on the details.
25. Stressful During Rush Periods
Medical intake can get extremely busy when there are infections spreading, or there is an unexpected influx of patients. On occasions when the pace is greatly accelerated, stress is common. Learning to deal with the stress of performing during peak periods is critical for billers and coders.
Start Your Medical Billing and Coding Career Today
Campus offers a Medical Billing and Coding certification program that can be completed in as little as 40 weeks. This program is one of our Online classes, where all of the coursework can be done online.
If you see working as a medical billing and coding professional in your future, contact our Admissions department today, and they can answer any questions you have about the course.
We’re here to help you start a rewarding career in healthcare.
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 Note: The data provided above are from a source unaffiliated with Campus, formerly known as MTI College, are for informational purposes only and represent the employment field as a whole. They are not solely specific to Campus graduates and, by providing the above information, Campus makes no representation, direct or implied, or opinion regarding employability.