Medical Biller and Coders and What They Do
Careers in the field of medicine can be a great fit for some people. They generally pay well, have good benefits, and it’s rewarding to know you are helping people. The most visible people in medicine are doctors and nurses but there are other jobs that aren’t directly related to patient care but are no less important. Administrative and clinical personnel play important roles in any medical practice or hospital. Medical billing and coding can be a rewarding career. As healthcare services increase, the number of jobs in the field grows.
What Medical Billers Do
Before you enter the medical billing and coding field, you should know what the job entails. Billing and coding are two separate jobs. Billers have more contact with patients but both positions are equally important. As the name implies, medical billers handle creating bills for services, procedures, and medication. You would be responsible for inputting codes to send bills to insurance companies and programs like Medicare. Bills for out-of-pocket expenses are generated and sent to patients. You would also help patients set up payment plans and dispute rejected claims.
What Medical Coders Do
Should you decide to go into medical coding, you will have a different set of tasks. Coders work closely with billers, doctors, and nurses. They are responsible for assigning codes to medical terms and entering them into computer systems. The codes enable healthcare providers to receive correct payments from insurers and patients. Depending on the type of setting in which you work, you may perform a wide variety of tasks. Some of the most common are:
- Ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations
- Researching payment and reimbursement information
- Analyzing clinical reports and patient records
- Ensuring accuracy by performing audits
Medical coders are essential for the smooth operation of any medical practice.
What Training You Need
Before you can begin training as a medical biller or coder, you must first earn a high school diploma or a GED. After this, you enter a program for a diploma or associate’s degree in billing, coding, or both if you are ambitious. In addition to colleges, many technical and vocational schools offer programs in the field. Diploma programs can be completed within one year. Most employers prefer their billers and coders to have an associate’s degree which takes two years to complete. The greater chance of landing a job makes the extra year well worth the time and expense.
Upon earning your degree or diploma, you then take and pass certification exams. Passing these tests and earning the certification ensures potential employers that you have mastered the complexity of coding and billing in compliance with government standards. Once you are certified, you can begin looking for a job. Many schools offer career placement services that can be very helpful in your search for a coder or biller job.
The field of medicine attracts many people. In addition to treating patients, there are many behind-the-scenes jobs that are just as important. Medical billing and coding are two rewarding careers that may allow you to help people in medicine.