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Medical Billing and Coding - Home Based Business Idea

What Does It Take to Start a Medical Billing and Coding Home Business?

By Ron Dicker

(LifeWire) - Overview of this Business

Health care is a trillion-dollar industry, so why not start a medical billing and coding home business of your own?

By acting as a one-person accounts-receivable department, you'll apply healthcare industry standard coding, bill patients, process doctor's claims and send them to insurance companies. It is your duty to gently remind patients when they are late in paying, and post the payments when they arrive. In addition, you'll inquire about unpaid claims and brief the doctors on patient traffic.

Most medical billing and coding services take a percentage of what the healthcare providers charge on each transaction. Gross revenues average between $20,000 and $100,000 a year, according to Entrepreneur.com, and are unlikely to decline. Many independent medical billing coding professionals gained their experience at a doctor's office. Neophytes with some accounting and computer awareness can take medical coding and billing courses at a local college or online. Success depends on establishing relationships with health care providers. Your customers can range from physicians to chiropractors to psychologists. Networking within the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management might also boost prospects.

Pros of a Medical Billing and Coding Home Business

  • Medical billing and coding is a natural job for those with a love of budgeting and finance.
  • Doctors having trouble getting reimbursements from insurance carriers will be relieved to have your help.
  • Health care is in demand regardless of the state of the economy, so it should stand to reason that medical billing and coding services will share in this demand
Cons of a Medical Billing and Coding Home Business
  • Insurance companies and/or patients may be unwilling to pay.
  • Competing medical billing and coding services that have already formed doctor relationships from a previous medical job will have an advantage.
What You Need to Get Started in a Medical Billing and Coding Home Business
  • A business license. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce and with your state officials about licensing requirements.
  • A computer, printer and fax, as well as accounting and billing software and fast Internet connection
  • Medical billing and coding software, which ranges between $500 and several thousand dollars. Much of it should be geared toward processing HCFA 1500s, the standard claim form used by health plans.
  • Medical billing and coding reference books. The recommended ones are the ICD-10, CPT and HCPCS Expert 2000, plus the CDT-3 for dentists.
  • Advertising in print and online to promote your medical billing and coding business, as well as a website

Medical Billing and Coding Service: Real-Life Example

Jaci Koelm of Austin, Tex., parlayed the relationships she built with doctors as a pharmaceuticals sales rep into a medical billing and coding operation that processes 2 million claims a year. Her Longhorn Medical Billing Services employs a staff of 36, she tells Claimtek.com.

This article is part of the Medical Billing Guide

More on Medical Billing and Coding as a Business

More on Starting a Home-Based Business

Also related: Medical Transcription

LifeWire, a part of The New York Times Company, provides original and syndicated online lifestyle content. Ron Dicker is a New York-based freelance writer who covered sports for the New York Times from 1996 to 2005.

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