What Is Medical Billing?
"I am trying to find a way to jumpstart my professional life after years out of work, and it looks like one job which is in high demand right now is medical billing. I’m guessing this is exactly what it sounds like. But what are the day to day duties of a medical biller? Would I be talking to patients? How much do I have to know about medical codes, and do I need a degree to get into this profession? Do you think it’s a good choice given what I told you, that I am trying to get a job fast?"
asked by Suzy from Billings, MT
If your aim is to get back into the job market as quickly as you can, medical billing is a pretty good choice because the field is growing much more rapidly than most others in the US. Not only is there going to be a large increase in terms of percentages, but the actual number of jobs will also be quite large. This is because there is something of a crisis when it comes to medical care. We have an increasingly large population of increasingly old people with many health issues and not enough physicians, nurses and other health care providers to take care of them.
Your job as a medical biller would be to ensure that the medical professionals who work with you are able to get paid for the services they deliver to patients. This makes the medical biller job an essential role in any hospital, clinic, or outpatient facility.
If you don’t want to actually treat patients but you are interested in working with patients on an administrative level, medical billing might be an ideal choice for you.
You do need to have a knowledge of medical codes so that you can properly interpret treatments and conditions and appropriately bill insurance companies and patients (as well as explain the charges if questions should arise). You have a customer service job as a biller because patients and insurance providers frequently have questions about medical treatments and where the responsibility rests for payment.
It’s your job to resolve these disputes to the best satisfaction of all parties and make sure that payment responsibilities are fairly distributed and fulfilled. This may require you to set up payment plans for patients and sometimes to send bills to collections agencies if there is no other way to work matters out for the best.
You can become a biller without any education, but I would not recommend it. You will be far more likely to get a job if you are certified, plus that way you can learn the medical codes and other technical aspects of the job. It will ease your transition and also help you earn more money.
A degree would make the profession a lot more lucrative. If you cannot get a degree in medical billing now, that is something to consider for the future when you can find the time and money.