Earning your medical billing certification can open the door to a career in a field that depends on a steady stream of qualified people. Once upon a time, your friendly smal-ltown doctor bartered his services for produce or carpentry work. For instance, if your son broke his leg jumping out of the barn and you were short on cash, you might pay the doctor with a bushel of corn or a goat. Those days are long gone! Today, medical billing is a complicated field requiring specialists to navigate its intricacies.
As someone with medical billing certification, your services will be highly valued in a range of facilities. From single-physician practices to nursing homes to major hospitals, all healthcare providers now depend on people who can skillfully translate medical records into bills for reimbursement by insurance companies, Medicaid, Medicare, or individuals.
In 2018, the median salary for someone with medical billing certification was over $40,000, a salary well worth the investment of time and money to get your education.
What Does a Billing Specialist Actually Do?
Remember our friendly small-town doctor trading his services for a goat? Today he would need two trained people just to create an actual bill for that broken leg: a medical coding specialist and a medical billing specialist!
Not to be confused with a medical coder, a medical billing specialist works with computer software to produce bills from patients’ medical records. The medical coder gets the medical records and turns specific procedures into codes that only then can be input into billing software by a billing specialist. The billing specialist enters into the computer the medical codes along with any insurance or Medicare/Medicaid information so that the medical provider can be reimbursed for services.
Skill Set Needed for Medical Billing Certification
A billing specialist has a great deal of responsibility. In addition to submitting medical claims for reimbursement, medical billers frequently perform other tasks, such as getting authorization for procedures or handling patient referrals.
As the point man for the medical provider when it comes to reimbursement, a billing specialist has to have strong communication skills. In any given day, they may be required to handle discrepancies in reimbursement, explain bills to patients, and negotiate payment schedules with individuals. As you might expect, patience and a steady temperament are huge assets in this field! Strong problem solving skills are also a plus!
How Long Is the Medical Billing Certification Course?
The medical billing certification course takes years less time than a traditional four-year college degree, even less than an associates degree. In fact, if you work at the intended pace you should be able to complete the coursework in nine months!
So if you are ready to get serious about a career path, medical billing certification may be just what the doctor ordered! With steady job growth projections, a good salary, and interesting responsibilities, it’s definitely a career worth pursuing.