Are you considering a career in medical billing and coding but not quite sure if it's the right path for you? With so many different job opportunities out there, it can be tough to know which one is the best fit. That's why we're breaking down the pros and cons of a career in medical billing and coding – to help you make an informed decision about your future!
From flexible schedules to complex regulations, we'll explore all sides of this exciting field so that you can decide if it's right for you. So grab a cup of coffee, get comfy, and let's dive into the world of medical billing and coding together!
Introduction to Medical Billing and Coding
Medical billing and coding is a process of translating medical procedures into codes that are used to submit insurance claims. This process starts with the medical coder reviewing the patient’s medical chart and assigning appropriate codes for each diagnosis and procedure. The coded information is then sent to the medical biller, who creates a claim and submits it to the insurance company.
The job of a medical billing and coding specialist is important because accurate coding is essential for getting reimbursement from insurance companies. In addition, medical billing and coding specialists play a vital role in ensuring that patients are properly billed for their care.
There are many advantages to pursuing a career in medical billing and coding. First, it is a stable career with good job prospects. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of Medical Billing and Coding Specialists will grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.1 In addition, medical billing and coding specialists can work remotely, which offers flexibility and the ability to work from home. Finally, most employers offer good benefits packages to employees in this field.
However, there are some drawbacks to consider before pursuing a career in medical billing and coding. First, it can be a challenging field to get started in because it requires knowledge of both medicine and computer systems. In addition, while many employers offer good benefits packages, salaries can be relatively low compared to other healthcare professions. Finally, working with insurance companies can be frustrating at times because
Pros of a Career in Medical Billing and Coding
There are many reasons to consider a career in medical billing and coding. For one, the demand for medical billing and coding professionals is expected to grow much faster than the average for all other occupations through 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And with an aging population that will increasingly need medical care, the demand for these workers will only continue to grow.
In addition, medical billing and coding offer a good salary and job security. The median annual salary for medical billers and coders was $32,350 in 2016, according to the BLS, with the top 10% earning more than $52,000. And because there is a growing demand for these professionals, job security is high.
Finally, medical billing and coding offer flexible work options. Many professionals in this field work remotely or have flexible hours, which can be a great option for those with family or other commitments outside of work.
Cons of a Career in Medical Billing and Coding
There are a few potential downsides to a career in medical billing and coding. First, the job can be somewhat repetitive and tedious, as you will likely be sitting at a computer for long periods of time entering data.
Additionally, the pay for this occupation is not particularly understood, especially when compared to other healthcare occupations. And finally, there is always the possibility of making errors in coding or billing, which could lead to problems for patients and physicians alike.
Education Required for Medical Billing and Coding
A medical billing and coding career requires at least a high school diploma or equivalent, although many employers prefer candidates with postsecondary education, such as an associate degree in medical billing and coding. Many community colleges, technical schools, and online schools offer programs in medical billing and coding.
While not required, voluntary certification may improve job prospects. The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) offers the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) credential, which requires passing an exam. The International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) is a system used to code diagnoses and procedures. To be eligible for the CPC credential, candidates must have completed a course in ICD-10-CM or have two years of experience using the system.
Different Job Roles within Medical Billing and Coding
Medical billing and coding is a rapidly growing field with many different job roles. The most common position is that of a medical biller, who is responsible for submitting insurance claims and collecting payments from patients. A medical coder assigns codes to diagnoses and procedures, which are used to calculate reimbursements from insurance companies. There are also positions for billing specialists, who work with patients to resolve billing issues, and coding auditors, who review medical records to ensure accuracy.
With the advent of electronic health records, the role of medical billing and coding has become even more important. Billers and coders must now be able to understand and use complex software systems in order to do their jobs effectively. The demand for qualified professionals in this field is expected to continue to grow in the coming years.
Certification Requirements for Specialized Roles
There are a few different types of medical billing and coding roles, each with its own set of certification requirements. The most common role is that of a certified medical coder, which requires certification from the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) or the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). There are also specialized roles, such as coding auditor or compliance specialist, which may require additional certification.
Let’s take a closer look at the certification requirements for each type of medical billing and coding role:
Certified Medical Coder: As mentioned, to become a certified medical coder, you will need to earn certification from either the AAPC, NHA, and or AHIMA. To be eligible for AAPC certification, you must have at least two years of experience in medical coding, and to be eligible for AHIMA certification, you must have at least one year of experience. Once you have met the experience requirements, you will need to pass an exam in order to receive your credential.
Coding Auditor: A coding auditor is responsible for auditing medical records to ensure accuracy and compliance with coding guidelines. To become a certified coding auditor, you will need to earn the Certified Coding Auditor (CCA) credential from AHIMA. To be eligible for this credential, you must have at least two years of experience in coding auditing. Once you have met the experience requirements, you will need to pass an exam in order to receive your credential
Tools Used for Medical Billing and Coding
There are a variety of tools used for medical billing and coding. Some of the most common include:
-Medical billing software: This software helps to streamline the billing process by automatically generating claims and submitting them to insurance companies.
-Electronic health records (EHRs): EHRs are used to store patient health information electronically. This information can be accessed by authorized personnel, which can help improve communication and coordination of care.
-Claims clearinghouses: These organizations act as intermediaries between healthcare providers and insurance companies. They receive claims from providers, verify them for accuracy, and then submit them to insurers for payment.
-Coding manuals: These manuals contain the codes that are used to indicate diagnoses and procedures on medical claims. Coding manuals are typically used by coders when they need to look up a code for a specific diagnosis or procedure.
Overall, becoming a medical billing and coding specialist can provide you with rewarding career opportunities. The job offers stability, flexibility, and the chance to work in an environment that has a positive impact on people's lives.
There are some challenges associated with this job as well, such as staying up-to-date on coding standards or dealing with complex patient insurance plans. However, if you have the right skills and attitude for this type of work then it could be a great fit for your professional goals.