Welcome to Medical Billing and Coding Training where you’ll learn all you need to know about becoming a medical biller and/or medical coder.
The first thing you should know is that medical billing and medical coding are two distinct skills that require different training; if you choose to pursue both fields together, though, you will make yourself a highly attractive job candidate who can handle the medical billing process for clients from start to finish.
Both medical billers and coders are in high demand as the medical billing and coding process has become electronic, requiring trained specialists to handle codes, claims, and forms; to meet this need, the number of online medical billing and training programs has increased dramatically, aiming to accommodate all of those who wish to jump into this expanding field.
If you think online medical billing and coding training may be useful for you, read on to find out more about how you can get started.
What do medical billers do?
Medical billing is the process of submitting medical claims to insurance companies and other agencies for payment; medical billers, also known as medical billing specialists, oversee this process by gathering claims, filling out forms, responding to insurance company communications, preparing invoices, and sometimes contacting patients.
Medical billers usually work outside the view of patients either in offices or at home, but they are nonetheless extremely important parts of the health care system. Medical billers can be found in hospitals, doctors’ offices, insurance companies, pharmacies, long-term care facilities, accounting and law firms, and various health care agencies.
Medical billers should not only understand billing procedures, fee scheduling, and collection methods but also have a good working knowledge of how the health care system works overall.
How do I become a medical biller?
Employers prefer to hire medical billers who have at least an associate degree or certificate, but a bachelor’s degree can make for an even more attractive job candidate; all of these qualifications can be earned through the online medical billing school of your choice.
What do medical coders do?
Medical coders, also called health information coders, medical record coders, coder/abstractors, or coding specialists, apply special codes to medical procedures and services for billing; they work in many of the same locations as medical billers and may also work from home. Many medical coders are also trained as medical billers, which means they can handle the medical billing process from start to finish.
Medical coders must keep up with the changes in coding procedures and must also be well-informed on medical terminology.
How do I become a medical coder?
Medical coders are usually required to have at least a certificate or associate degree, but a bachelor’s or master’s degree can improve both job prospects and earning potential; medical coding schools often offer several different levels of training so you can choose which best suits your needs.
Note also that employers prefer individuals with certification from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) or the American Academy of Professional Coders.
What types of programs are available for online medical billing and coding training?
Online medical and coding training programs include opportunities to earn diplomas, certificates, associate degrees, or bachelor’s degrees. Master’s degrees in medical coding are also possible.
As medical billing and coding can be a challenging profession to break into without experience, be sure to look for medical billing and coding training programs that will help you arrange internships and other hands-on experience.
What are online medical billing and coding training programs like?
Most online medical billing and coding training programs run from nine months for certificate programs to four years for bachelor’s degree programs; a program that lasts less than nine months will probably not adequately prepare you for this profession and may not be looked upon kindly by employers.
Common coursework in online medical billing and coding training programs include:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Business and Information Technology
- Coding and Abstraction of Data
- Computer Skills
- CPT Surgical Coding
- CPT Non-Surgical Coding
- Electronic Record Keeping
- Health Care Law
- Health Care Management
- Health Data Standards
- ICD-9 Coding
- Information Security and Data Integrity
- Insurance Abuse, Compliance, and Fraud
- Medical Coding
- Medical Terminology
- Pathology Coding
- Radiology Coding
Also, note that if you’re considering eventually branching out and working on your own at home, you should also consider taking some business courses.
What is the job outlook for medical billers and coders?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts “faster than average” job growth for medical billing specialists and other health information technicians through 2016, with the most opportunities available for those with proper training and certification.