Like all professionals, physicians and other medical specialists must be compensated for their work. This financial responsibility is typically shared by both patients and health insurance companies.
Medical coding and billing specialists work to ensure that medical specialists are compensated for their work. This typically involves assigning codes to medical diagnoses, treatments, and procedures and creating bills and invoices, which are sent to patients and health insurance companies.
A medical billing specialist will often have a number of options when it comes to finding employment. Many of these professionals, for instance, work in inpatient and outpatient healthcare facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and physician office. Medical coding and billing firms also hire medical billing and coding specialists on a regular basis, and some of these professionals may even start their own businesses or work at home.
Because of the aging Baby Boomer generation and advances in the world of medicine combined with an increased awareness for the need fro medical help, more and more individuals are expected to seek medical help. This has led to the Bureau of labor Statistics to predict a higher than average growth rate for professionals in the healthcare industry, including medical billing specialists.
Duties and Responsibilities
A typical day in the life of a medical billing specialist can be somewhat hectic. Medical billing specialists are required to examine medical charts and records of both inpatient and outpatient patients. They are then required to assign the proper corresponding code for diagnoses and medical treatments and procedures.
Although speed is one of the most important aspects of this job, accuracy is of the utmost importance in this line of work. Inaccurately coded medical charts could lead to problems, such as delayed payments or even denial of payment. In order to determine and assign the most accurate codes, medical billing specialist will sometimes need to clarify certain things by speaking directly with physicians or specialists.
Once an invoice or claim is processed, a medical billing specialist will then process and submit them to the proper insurance companies. If a claim is rejected or denied, a medical billing specialist may need to make adjustments or corrections and resubmit it.
Necessary Skills, Education, and Experience
Being a medical billing specialist requires a number of special skills. For instance, because medical billing specialists are required to use specialized computer software, computer literacy is extremely important. Effective communication skills are also necessary, as this career often requires interacting with medical professionals and insurance representatives. You should also be very detail-oriented, have a good memory, and thrive in a fast-paced environment.
If you’re looking to work at home as a medical billing specialist, you should also be very organized and motivated. You may also want to take a business course as well.
The education requirements for working as a medical billing specialist can vary. Some employers – or clients – may find that completion of a medical coding diploma program is acceptable. However, completing a two-year associate degree program in medical billing and coding will typically give you an edge over applicants with less education.
Most employers will also usually only consider hiring applicants that are certified in medical billing and coding. Certification can be obtained through the American Medical Billing Association (AMBA), the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
Some experience may also be required when applying for a medical billing and coding job with certain companies. If you’re unable to secure a full-time position in this area due to lack of experience, however, you may want to consider completing an internship.
Tips for Landing a Job as a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
Combined with a strong cover letter, a powerful resume can often make or break your chances of landing an interview for a medical billing and coding position. A good resume should highlight your relevant strengths, education, certifications, and experience. Letters of professional recommendation can also be included with your cover letter and resume.
Cover letters, resumes, and letters of recomendation can be sent in reply to help wanted ads, such as those in newspapers and on online job boards. You can also send your cover letter and resume to the human resources departments in medical facilities, such as hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation centers.