Medical Billing Jobs

Industry Overview

Medical billing jobs are absolutely essential in order to ensure that the healthcare system within the United States operates in an efficient and productive manner. Money is meant to circulate and as a result, continual cash flow is vital to the smooth operation of the medical system. Without circulation, the entire system would come to an abrupt halt.

It is a fact that the overall population is aging at an alarming rate, thus placing tremendous pressure on all areas of healthcare, giving rise to new and exciting career opportunities for those who wish to pursue them. At no other time in history has there been so much job opportunity within the field, and in particular, medical billing jobs.

Further, as a result of this extensive growth, no longer can a medical biller handle each and every task. The industry is becoming increasingly specialized with new positions being created and new job titles cropping up such as billing specialist, reimbursement specialist, medical collector, patient representative, claims processor, and many more.

This is extremely positive for a career seeker just entering the industry with long term career objectives. With desire, initiative, and foresight, an individual does not have to remain in the same position or with the same employer for  forever. Through education and practical experience, unlimited future opportunities, including ones which likely have not been yet created will be prevalent.

Criteria Of A Great Industry

Prior to making a major career path decision, it is important to ask a few questions:
1. Is the entire industry currently in a state of growth and expansion?
2. Will there be new and interesting opportunities in future years?
3. Are the entrance requirements reasonable based on my educational background?
4. If not, can I attain the necessary education in a reasonable time frame at a reasonable price?

The administrative side of healthcare field, and more specifically medical billing jobs, medical coding jobs, and medical transcription jobs, without question meets these criteria. In fact, the Us Department of Labor predicts the job market to grow by 11% by the year 2018.

Basic Job Function

It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss each and every medical billing role, however, in general terms,  medical billing jobs can be defined as very specialized accounts receivable positions. Medical billers assume the responsibility of managing the receivable from the time a patient completes a visit with a doctor, receives a medical treatment, or has surgery performed, to receipt of payment or reimbursement.

A billing file is created, details of the patient encounter with appropriate medical codes are input into a medical billing software program, and a bill is generated. Payment can be received directly from the patient in the event that they do not have insurance coverage or a particular treatment is not insured, from a third party healthcare insurance provider, or from a government insurance agency.

Therefore, the biller must know where to direct the bill, and have an understanding of the specific processing requirements of insurance companies and agencies. Failure to forward to medical bill to the proper department and not meeting the necessary criteria can result in delays in payment.

Further, the individual providing the billing function, must monitor and track the bill throughout the entire cycle and follow up if payment is not received when expected. Paper work errors, wrong coding, and bills being sent to the wrong person or department within an insurance company are common reasons for payment delays. The biller must identify the problem and rectify these issues as they arise.

Payment not received from a patient, is typically the result of inability to pay or no intention to pay. In these situations, the medical biller must work with the patient and often set up a time payment program which is conducive to both parties. If an account is deemed noncollectable, the file is turned over to a third party collection agency with whom the biller must interact.

General Skill Set And Educational Requirements

As with most administrative roles, the basic skills are a familiarity of working with computers, a reasonably fast typing speed, a good understanding of software programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel, knowledge of the internet, and the practical use of email. Additionally, an aptitude to focus on details and the ability to quickly grasp different medical accounting software programs are essential. Finally, and contrary to popular belief, great interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate effectively are two attributes which pave the way to the best future opportunities and advancements.

With respect to formal educational requirements, there are really no pre-set standards within the medical billing industry other than a basic high school education. Don’t be fooled by this as most prospective employers look favorably on applicants who have some formal training or are enrolled in a recognized course. In fact, many set these as minimum requirements to even consider an applicant for medical billing jobs.

Accredited training is provided online as well as in traditional classroom settings, and range in price from $1,000 -$2,500 depending on the the type and extent of the training undertaken. Most can be completed in a time frame ranging from as little as 7 or 8 months, to upwards of 2 years.

Some of the more recognized schools include, American Intercontinental University, Virginia College, Colorado Technical College, Kaplan University, and Sanford-Brown College to name a few. Perform due diligence by exploring these and others to find a school which best suits your particular situation.

Summary

As I am sure you can see, medical billing jobs are in a current state of rapid growth and pose excellent current opportunities as well as tremendous future opportunities. The industry is not only challenging, but also rewarding. The time is right for anyone who is seeking a new career path or desiring to transition into the medical field. Not only do these positions provide security and longevity, they pay very well.