Are you considering a career as a medical billing and coding specialist? Do you know what it takes to become one? Medical billing and coding are great career choices for those who want to work in the medical field as non-medics. It is also one of the fastest growing and rewarding careers. There’s also plenty of related careers if this one in particular doesnt interest you, such as Medical Negligence Solicitors or Insurance Processors that this post could also be of use for.
Read on to learn all about the education requirements, certification information, and experience needed to start a career as a medical billing specialist.
Who Is a Medical Billing Specialist?
The work of a medical billing specialist involves the process of billing in any hospital. The medical billers use codes that are given to them by medical coders to help put together claims that they then itemize and send to insurance companies.
They work together with the patients and insurance companies to iron out any discrepancies in the claims. This means that as a billing specialist, you will also need to understand the policy guidelines of insurance companies and you should have very strong communication skills.
Who Is a Medical Coder?
A medical coder is responsible for translating all medical services into codes. Their work is to translate medical notes, transcriptions, and reports into codes. Coders are skilled in the healthcare coding systems and you have to gain this knowledge to be able to work as a medical coder because it is the main tool of the job.
Medical coders are also very good with numbers and they pay close attention to detail. They do not interact with patients and insurance companies.
What It Takes to Become a Medical Billing Specialist
The medical sector has grown abundantly and this has prompted the need for skilled professionals to assist in the day to day running of a healthcare facility, hence, the demand for medical billers.
Medical billers are a very essential part of any properly functioning hospital. Let us take a look at how to become a medical biller.
1. Education and Certification
The first thing you need to have is a high school diploma or a GED equivalency. If you have this, you can proceed to get the required training. This you can pursue in the following steps.
Choose Your Specialty
You need to know which certification you want. The two major certifications are the Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist offered by the American Medical Billing Association and the Certified Medical Billing Specialist offered by the Medical Association of Billers.
You will be required to pay a fee for any of these certifications. Each has its own amount. Once you have paid the required fee, you have to pass a comprehensive exam.
The exams cover similar subjects like:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Medical terminology
- Medical Coding
- Handling denials and appeals
- Maintaining regulatory compliance as well as avoiding any accusations of abuse and fraud
- Medicare and insurance claims processing guidelines
With the advancement in technology, you can opt for online exams as opposed to the traditional classroom setting.
Before sitting for the exam, you need to seek relevant resources that will help you study and prepare for it. You can choose to study on your own with the help of textbooks, enroll on an online course, or look for an institution that offers the training you need and sit under an instructor.
Local colleges and technical schools have been known to offer the required training, you can enroll in one and take the relevant course. You can also take this opportunity and take any other course that will boost your knowledge. Preparing for the exam takes three to six weeks depending on your method and speed of studying
Join an Association
Certificates are awarded by association. For you to take your exam, you will need to become a member of the association that awards it. You have to apply and pay the membership fee.
2. The Exam Component
The billing certification will show any potential employer that you have what it takes to become a medical billing specialist, and you can uphold a high standard of professionalism and competency to ensure that claims are handled well. This is why you need to pass the exams and have the proper certification.
If you have chosen CRMS, you will be able to access a study guide on the AMBA’s website. You will then take your exam online via a learning management system. You will only be able to access the system for 45 days, and you should have completed your exam by then.
The system, once you have completed the exam, will notify you of your final score immediately. You will receive a confirmation of the certification in 3-5 days.
There are a series of preparation options that you must complete should you choose a CMBS certification, before taking the exam. You are free to take the six online courses at your own pace, take a preparatory course at a proctoring site, or enroll in a condensed course, for you to be able to take the exam.
There are certain programs that might require one to have hands-on experience before being fully approved for the job market. Even if your program does not have this requirement, you can still apply for an internship in any health facility near you.
This will prepare you for the job and will also add experience to your resume. Internships also open doors for employment.
How Much Will It Cost to Become a Medical Biller?
Paying for the certification and exam will vary depending on which you will choose. If you are interested and motivated to become a medical billing specialist, consider investing several weeks and some few hundred dollars to earn your required medical billing certification. The certification is very affordable not to mention necessary if you are serious about pursuing this career.
Maintaining a Medical Billing Certification
As a medical billing specialist, you need to maintain your certification. You can do this by getting a certain number of continuing education credits every year. CMRS requires 15 units and CMBS, 12 units. You can get these by taking approved billing courses, taking part in approved development programs, or attending conferences that have been approved by the association.
Medical Billing Salary
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. Medical billers and coders are classified as medical records and health information technicians. The salary is an average of $40,350 per year.
However, this can differ according to the state or your employer. This career has a growth prediction of 13%, this means more jobs are expected to open up over the years.
Get the Job
Now that you have passed your exam, got your certification, and maybe gained some experience, your next step is to start applying for jobs. The best thing about being a medical billing specialist is that you have more than one option. You can choose to work with:
- A hospital
- A laboratory
- Clinics or physicians’ offices
- Dental offices
- Nursing homes
Send job application letters to any of these facilities. You can also make use of the internet to search for job openings, especially the websites of professional organizations. Try to network with others in the same field by attending conferences, regular meetings, and events.
Why You Need to Become A Medical Biller
There are plenty of reasons why you should make this your career of choice. Some of them are:
1. It Is Rewarding
You will be part of a team that handles very important information and helping in the smooth running of the facility and saving lives too.
2. It Puts You in the Middle of a Fast-Paced Industry
The specialists might at times need the insurance companies to approve a procedure as fast as possible and also to keep up with the treatment. It is up to you to quickly send this information to the relevant insurance companies and solve any disputes as fast as possible to make the doctors work easier.
3. No Years in Medical School
All you need is less than a year of training and you will be ready to take on the medical field.
4. You Are Saving Lives Too
Medical billing and medical coding should be error free, an incorrect code can translate to wrong medication.
5. You Have a Lot of Employer Options
You are not only confined to a hospital, but you will also be able to work any other employer that deals with patients and insurance companies.
6. Your Career Can Take off Very Fast
You can be able to find good employment within no time. In fact, with lady luck on your side, you can get both the certification and employment within a year.
7. No Dress Code
Imagine working in a hospital and no having to put on any uniforms. Well, that is definitely a plus.
8. It Has a High Potential of Growth
The demand for medical billing specialists is on the rise and this means more job openings.
9. Competitive Package
Most importantly, it pays well to be a medical biller. So why not opt for this career choice?
Consider This Guide on How to Become a Medical Billing Specialist If You Are Looking for an Exciting Career
The medical billing specialist field is yet to be exhausted, and with the growth in the medical field, this is one of the rewarding careers that you can choose to pursue. The certification is also affordable and does not take up much of your time.
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