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Medical Billing Guide

What You Need to Know About Medical Billing as a Business or Career


Medical bills with stethoscope
Burazin/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

A medical billing career could be very promising, either as a home business or a work from home medical billing job. Medical billing and coding lends itself well to working at home, and many in the medical billing and coding profession have been able to do just that, either by setting up a home business and working for themselves with independent physicians as their clients, or by working from home in medical billing jobs with larger health care firms that make and track medical billing work assignments electronically.

Medical billing and coding professionals may also be hired by insurance companies, pharmacies and related companies and even the government for their expertise.

Medical Billing as a Work at Home Job

Medical billing professionals are usually able to work independently from home, since medical billing software can easily facilitate electronic billing of patients, health insurers and government health agencies like Medicaid and Medicare from through their home computers. However, most of these opportunities are for experienced medical billing professionals only. Most "opportunities" to work at home in medical billing are just that - business opportunities and not actual jobs.

Learn more: Work at Home Medical Billing Jobs

Educational Requirements for Medical Billing and Coding Professionals

Medical billing requires a fairly strong knowledge of:

  • Medical terminology
  • Anatomy
  • Knowledge of how to properly complete various forms
  • Industry coding for medical procedures

Currently, there are no set educational standards for the medical billing profession. Many employers who offer work at home medical billing jobs do look for some level of formal medical billing and coding training through an accredited vocational or career training school along with actual experience in a medical billing office. Formal accredited programs may take from as little as nine months to as long as two years or more and may also offer assistance with career placement.

Required Skills for Medical Billing and Coding

Medical billing and coding also requires a strong level of computer skills and a typing speed of at least 35 words-per-minute.

Additionally, medical billing and coding professionals need to have good customer service skills to deal with patients who may be under stress, physician and hospital billing staff and other medical personnel.

Medical Billing Training

While the popularity of medical billing has resulted in a number of online training programs for medical billing and coding professionals, how do you know which program is good?

What to Look for in a Medical Billing Program

Medical billing expert, Paul G. Hackett says that "Almost 80% of people end up choosing the wrong types of online medical billing courses." He also advises that there are only seven medical billing training subjects you should look for before enrolling in any medical billing training program. He calls these his medical billing "essentials" that every medical billing training program should have.

Learn more: 7 Essential Subjects for Online Medical Billing Courses

What to Watch Out for in a Medical Billing Program

In addition to knowing what to look for when you're researching medical billing and coding training programs, you also need to know what to avoid. Medical billing training expert, Paul G. Hackett believes that by learning what you need to avoid before signing up for a medical billing program is easier to remember than knowing what to look for when you are shopping for an online medical billing study program.

Learn more: 9 Things to Avoid With Online Medical Billing Education Programs

Spotting Medical Billing Scams

Unfortunately, because of the growing popularity of medical billing home businesses and because it logically makes sense that a medical billing career might be one with strong opportunities to work from home, the industry is loaded with scams like "You Can Earn $50,000+ Processing Medical Claims From Home. No experience necessary!"

Scams also abound to try to get you to purchase training, software, marketing materials, and lists of doctors. Additionally, some medical billing software scams try to sweeten their offers with discounted clearinghouse services if you buy medical billing software from them. Any of these scams can cause you to part with your hard earned money and waste your time getting established in the medical billing and coding profession.

Learn more: 6 Ways to Avoid Medical Billing Scams

Medical Billing as a Home Business

A medical billing or medical billing and coding home business could have good potential for success and have been growing in popularity. One of the reasons for that growth is the wide availability of online training in medical billing and medical billing software.

Like any home business, starting a medical billing and coding home business is much easier if you already have some medical billing experience to your credit and you've received full training before you decide to go it alone. Additionally, you'll have gained some contacts during your medical billing employment that will help in establishing your customer base.

Learn more: Medical Billing and Coding - Home Based Business Idea

Marketing Your Medical Billing Home Business

Most people who start a home based medical billing business don't come from a marketing or sales background. Even those who know how to market or sell don't like to do so. However, whether you hire someone to market your medical billing business or do it yourself to save money, you'll need to market the business in order to get clients.

Learn more: Marketing a Medical Billing Business

Medical Billing Clearinghouses

An electronic medical billing clearinghouse acts as a middleman that takes electronic medical claims information and then submits it electronically to insurance companies the medical billing clearinghouse contracts with. Many who run medical billing businesses however, fail to take advantage of this time saver in their medical billing and coding practices.

Learn more: What is a Medical Billing Clearinghouse?

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