Opportunity is right around the corner as an exciting new future as a medical biller or coder awaits those looking to make a career move. This particular field is experiencing tremendous job growth, which is expected to continue well into the future. Medical billing and coding professionals provide an important service and that has translated into competitive pay, great benefits, and job security. The path to becoming a medical biller or coder can begin with just a few simple steps.
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General Overview of Medical Billers and Coders
Becoming a medical biller is not the same as becoming a medical coder as each job has its own unique skillset. Medical billers are required to become familiar with the vast amount of terminology used in the billing process. That means being able to understand and interpret terms like capitation, electronic remittance advice, and PPO (preferred provider organization).
Meanwhile, medical coders are required to know the health care coding system that is part of their everyday job detail. Medical coders need to be able to identify ICD-9 Codes as well as ICD-10 codes, among many others. These codes are actually assigned to all of the medical services provided to a patient. Everything from a routine doctor’s visit to prescribing medication has its own individual code. Those codes are then sent to medical billers, who begin preparing a legal bill, also known as a claim.
Medical billers deal with various insurance companies and also interact with actual patients. They are entrusted with the duty of making sure bills are accurate and sent to the appropriate payers. There are always problems that can arise with claims and that will demand the intervention of a medical biller. That is one more reason why medical billers are expected to know the specifics of all different insurance plans. On any given day, medical billers could be asked to review and appeal unpaid claims.
Medical coders do not have to interact with people as much as medical billers, although good communication skills are recommended for both disciplines. Learning both medical billing and coding will help an individual to better understand the nature of their specific job. However, medical billing and medical coding should not be construed as the same job as there is an abundance of differences within each job specification.
State Licensing Requirements
The state of Delaware has not made it mandatory for medical billers and coders to hold a license. This allows medical billers and coders to operate in any hospital, medical facility or private practice without having to get approval from the state in the form of a license.
Medical Billing and Coding Certification Process
The process of becoming a medical biller or coder often involves earning a certification. There is no set rule that requires all medical billers and coders in Delaware to be certified. However, that is the primary route many individuals take when choosing a future in this field.
Certifications differ according to the institution that issues them. Post-secondary schools, such as vocational schools, technical institutes, and training centers, offer medical billing and coding programs that usually take 6-12 months to complete. Upon completion, a certificate is awarded. Some of those certificates specialize in medical coding while others focus solely on medical coding. There are also programs that combine the two disciplines and that results in a medical billing and coding certification.
There are other alternatives for a two-year Associate’s Degree strengthens an individual’s credentials. These two-year programs typically combine medical billing and coding to provide a comprehensive understanding of each job specification. Passing all the necessary classes leads to an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science in Medical Billing and Coding. Graduates can then use that degree as a credible certification to gain employment in Delaware.
Medical billers and coders can also add national certifications to their resume, specifically the ones offered by the AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) or AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders). The curriculums offered through two-year medical billing and coding programs adequately prepare students to pass these national exams.
Some employers will require multiple certifications while other employers will not be as demanding. It is up to the discretion of each company to determine which certifications are acceptable when hiring new employees. However, non-certified applicants are rarely considered over those who have earned a certification through a post-secondary school or college.
Job Prospects and Potential Pay
The average salary of a medical biller and coder in Delaware checks in at $39,240 per year. Some of the more sought-after medical billing and coding jobs in Delaware are reported to pay as much as $52,420 on a yearly basis. Those higher paying medical billing and coding jobs can be attained with additional experience and certifications. The future is bright for new health information technicians in Delaware as job growth is expected to increase by 13% over the next decade.
Delaware cities you may look to for medical billing and coding education information: Wilmington and Dover are great places to start.
Top Delaware cities/areas for medical billing and coding careers: Wilmington, Sussex County (Delaware nonmetropolitan area), and Dover.
Some potential Delaware employers of medical billers and coders:
Meeting Education Requirements
To become a medical biller or coder in Delaware, a high school diploma or GED equivalency is strongly recommended. Colleges require new students to have acquired either of those to gain admission. Technical schools may be more lenient, although most encourage their new applicants to hold either a high school diploma or GED equivalency.
Explore all the different aspects of healthcare information in the state of Delaware on this website.
Here is a rundown of the latest job openings for medical coders throughout the state of Delaware.
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This website provides a current listing of medical biller jobs available in Delaware.