Every single day, there are more and more people looking for a career change. The abundance of growth in the medical sector has prompted the ongoing need for medical billers and coders. This essential part of the medical industry has opened up many new opportunities for those in search of a stable future. Options are far and wide for those who decide on a career in medical billing and coding.
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What is Medical Billing and Coding?
Medical billing and coding should not be confused as being the same job. Medical billers serve a different function as medical coders. Some companies require one employee do provide both job functions. However, there are plenty of companies that hire medical billers separately from medical coders.
The job of a medical biller involves the billing process in a health care facility. Medical billers use medical codes, given to them by medical coders, to put together claims. These claims are itemized and sent to insurance companies. But there is much more to being a medical biller in Illinois.
Medical billers are often required to spend time interacting with both patients and insurance companies. Any discrepancies with a claim are directed to medical billers. As a result, medical billers handle many claim disputes, appeals and the explanation of insurance policy guidelines.
It takes strong communication skills to be an effective medical biller. The job also requires a broad knowledge of insurance policy specifics as medical billers need to be able to explain all the fine details to patients.
Medical coders are responsible for translating medical services into codes. These services are documented in reports, notes and medical transcriptions. It is the function of a medical coder to take all those documents and translate them into codes.
Medical coders are skilled in the health care coding system which is the main tool they use on a daily basis. An expansive knowledge of those codes is a prerequisite in order to work as a medical coder in Illinois. This is also a job that can done independently as medical coders are capable of meeting deadlines on their own.
Medical coders in Illinois are typically very good with numbers. They also possess a keen attention to detail as there is an ongoing need to be extremely precise. There is less personal interaction among medical coders, although they have been known to deal with physicians and other health care professionals on a regular basis. Medical coders are also proficient with the computer software used to assist them in the process of coding.
Medical Billing and Coding Education Requirements
Those looking to delve into a career in medical billing and coding must first acquire a high school diploma or GED equivalency. Candidates should have some experience in science and algebra as it helps transition to the coursework. There are no post-secondary credits needed to begin the educational process as a medical biller and coder.
Meeting State Licensing Requirements
No state requires its medical billers and coders to obtain a specific license. While there are specific formats and guidelines to follow, state medical boards have not initiated any type of licensing mandates. There has also been no discussions indicating that will change anytime in the near future.
Medical Billing and Coding Certification Requirements
There is specific training that needs to be completed before companies will hire a new medical biller and coder. The precise nature of the job requires that all medical billers and coders be well versed in their particular area of expertise. Certification programs are offered by technical institutes, community colleges and vocational schools throughout the country. These programs teach all the intricacies of medical billing and coding.
Within these program curriculums, students learn extensive medical terminology along with proper insurance protocol. Several procedures involving medical billing and coding are also taught and are combined with the proper ways to manage computer databases.
States do not make it a requirement for medical billers and coders to hold a certification, although most employers will demand some type of formal training before hiring new employees. An Associate’s Degree also doubles as an acceptable form of certification. The importance of this job typically deters employers from hiring any non-certified medical billers and coders.
Job Prospects and Potential Pay
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies medical billers and coders as medical records and health information technicians. It also lists their average salary at $34,410 per year. Salaries differ according to state as some annual pay rates can exceed $48,000. The job outlook is very promising for medical billers and coders as there is expected to be 30,000 new jobs in the next decade.