Medical billing is an integral part of the healthcare industry. This job involves processing insurance claims, submitting patient information to insurance companies, and being knowledgeable of the rules and regulations in place to prevent fraud. With so many patients using more than one type of insurance, it can be difficult for some medical facilities to keep up with their billing.
If you’re new to the field, it can be hard to know where to start. To help out, we’ve put together a list of the most important skills anyone considering a career in medical billing should have. These skills will not just help you get your foot in the door; they’ll make sure you succeed in this fast-growing industry!
What is the role of medical billers?
The tasks commonly associated with medical billing include processing insurance claims, placing details on hospital admission documents, preparing treatment notes, and performing paper checks. It can be a little challenging to understand what goes into a medical bill, so we thought we’d shed some light on the job.
Medical billing requires a thorough understanding of medical codes that are used to label medical procedures a patient may undergo, hence why they undergo thorough medical billing specialist training.
Physicians use a very complex system of codes to better track and organize all of the information that comes into their offices. Medical bills can be difficult to decipher without specialist training, so it’s important for medical billers to be able to identify every procedure used. This is usually provided during the course of a medical billing education course.
Additionally, medical billers need to be very proficient in medical coding and language. Every medical billing process is specific to the billing needs of the institution and therefore has specific language to follow. Additionally, codes are constantly changing, so medical billers have to learn and adapt to the new terminology and standard.
Medical billers must also be aware of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) laws and be able to identify and document information about patients as it relates to their health insurance coverage.
This is an important skill, as a medical billing operation needs to be able to document any information that may lead to discrimination or reimbursement issues.
Educational requirements for medical billing
It’s important to note that there’s more to being a medical biller than completing an easy, certification-based course. While it depends on the employer, many require an associate’s degree in health information technology, which takes around two years to complete, and additional education for upward career mobility.
Post-secondary education is encouraged for many positions, as is pursuing certifications to prove skill level. Some of the most commonly used certifications are:
- Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)
- Certified Professional Biller (CPB)
- Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS)
- Certified Coding Associate (CCA)
- Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC)
That’s hardly an exhaustive list of certifications available for this field because the type of certification you pursue will largely depend on specialisations within the field. For example, while working in tandem, medical billing and medical coding are not the same career branch.
Is it better to attend college or an online program for medical billing?
Studying medical billing in-class and online both have their benefits.
One of the benefits of attending a traditional college is the networking opportunities one makes. Students at universities can use their connections with fellow students and the school’s alumni to get the most out of an educational experience. Even if curriculum standards are the same for college and online courses, you will make some of your most valuable professional connections at a university.
An online programme can provide the same level of training you would receive at a university and may be a better fast-track into the field. While you’re missing out on the networking opportunities that college life presents, you study at your own pace and possibly enter the medical billing profession sooner than if you pursued a university degree.
Overall, attending college in person to study medical billing may only offer the rewards of social networking and having a prestigious school on your resume. However, curriculum standards are largely the same in an online program, and you can work as you earn the credential you desire.
Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health and well-being.