A brand new career can begin sooner than anticipated as there is a continual need for key positions in the medical field. The need for medical billers and coders is increasing each year and getting started on that future can begin without an elongated wait or extensive amount of schooling. Medical billers and coders provide a valuable service in the medical profession and it is a job that provides career stability in an ever-changing market.
Overview of Medical Billers and Coders in Iowa
Medical billers and coders are not one in the same. While the two are often classified together, each has its own distinct job description and responsibilities. Both medical billers and coders are considered health information technicians, although there are differences between the two.
Medical billers are responsible for producing legal bills that represent all of the services performed on a patient. These bills are actually referred to as claims, which are sent to insurance companies and responsible payers. Medical billers itemize these claims with codes that represent all of the services provided to a patient.
To perform the job of a medical biller, there needs to be a sound understanding of insurance policies and what they entail. That means knowing the specifics of policies like Medicare, Medicaid and other health care programs.
Medical billers are responsible for explaining charges to patients and they often interact with insurance company representatives. That is why medical billers in Iowa needs to have strong communication and customer service skills. Medical billers must also possess a high attention to detail and be proficient in the computer software programs used in the billing process.
Medical coders in Iowa are the ones responsible for translating medical services, procedures and diagnoses into the appropriate medical codes. These codes are then sent to medical billers so that they can execute the billing process.
Medical coders are well-versed in the health care coding system, which means they are capable of matching any type of diagnosis with the proper codes. These codes are ascertained from reports, consultation notes and medical transcriptions that are provided to the medical coder.
Because of the importance of this job, Iowa medical coders are equipped with strong math and memorization skills. Medical coders work independently and are not in need of direct supervision to complete their daily assignments. There are instances when medical coders must contact physicians and that occurs when there may be some kind of discrepancy within the documents that need to be translated into medical codes. Medical coders practice their jobs with a high level of accuracy as they are essential to the entire medical billing process.
Iowa State Licensing Requirements
The state of Iowa has not instituted any type of license for medical billing and coding professionals. That means that medical billers and coders do not have to go through an application process which would include fees and renewals. Medical billers and coders in Iowa are free to work in any setting, such as hospitals, family practices, health centers and other types of medical facilities.
Medical Billing and Coding Certification Requirements
Health care facilities in Iowa set their own hiring standards, which means each one can require its medical billers and coders to hold a specific certification in order to gain employment. While those requirements differ, most health care facilities rarely hire non-certified medical billers and coders.
A medical billing and coding certification is offered by a variety of post-secondary schools. Various technical institutes, training centers and community colleges offer certification programs that last anywhere from six months to a year. Within these programs, medical terminology, the health care coding system and other essential tools of the job are taught. While medical billing and coding are separate disciplines, many of these certification programs combine the two into one curriculum.
There are also colleges that offer an Associate’s Degree in Medical Billing and Coding. These programs also combine medical billing and coding into the same curriculum. However, these programs take two years to complete on a full-time basis. The coursework in these programs is very in-depth and often highly revered by prospective employers. An Associate’s Degree is typically considered a more than adequate form of certification.
Training in a certification program or Associate’s Degree program prepares medical billers and coders to take exams offered by the AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) and AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders). Both of these organizations offer separate certifications for medical billers and coders. While these certifications are not mandatory in the state of Iowa, they can increase the chances of obtaining a medical billing or coding job.
Meeting Education Requirements
To become a medical biller or coder in Iowa, a high school diploma or GED equivalency is required to begin an education. There are no guidelines that require new medical billing and coding students to have accumulated any credits beyond the high school level.
Job Prospects and Potential Pay
The average medical biller and coder salary in the state of Iowa is $39,180 per year. However, entry-level salaries and high-end salaries differ throughout the state. The top earning medical billers and coders make a yearly salary of $56,780 in Iowa. The job prospects for medical billers and coders in Iowa continue to increase as there is expected to be almost a 4% job growth through the year 2024. Hospitals, medical centers and private practices are just a few of the health care facilities that are continually looking for new medical billers and coders in Iowa.
Some Iowa cities you may look to for medical billing and coding education information: Ottumwa, Davenport, Bettendorf, Cedar Rapids, Urbandale, Mason City and Cedar Falls.
Top Iowa cities/areas for medical billing and coding careers: Iowa City, Omaha (NE), Council Bluffs, Des Moines (West Des Moines), Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Sioux City, Davenport, Moline, Rock Island and Ames.
Just few employers of medical billers and coders in Iowa:
- Unity Point Health
- Buena Vista Regional Medical Center
- Adair Count Health System
- Covenant Medical Center
- Mercy North Iowa
- Skiff Medical Center
- Genesis Medical Center
- Sartori Medical Hospital
Browse the online listings of current medical billing jobs in Iowa on this website that is geared towards the health care field.
Medical coders looking to find work in Iowa can take advantage of the job openings listed on this website.
The AHIMA provides certifications as well as an abundance of resources for health information technicians.
Learn more about all the Iowa hospitals and what they have to offer through this association.