The United States has a unique medical system in which patients have to pay for…
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The medical industry is big business in the United States. Medical billers are people who help keep hospitals, doctors’ offices, nursing homes and other medical businesses running by billing insurance companies and patients for medical services.
Some people think that medical billing and the medical coding are basically the same job. But really these are two different jobs. In a nutshell, medical billers handing billing and medical coders handle coding.
Many institutions and online courses which teach medical billing teach medical coding along with it, though, and sometimes people are hired to do the jobs of both medical billing and coding rather than just one job or the other. So it can be a bit confusing.
This article will recognize medical billing and medical coding as two separate jobs. If you’re interested in medical coding, you can read what I wrote about how to work online as a medical coder here.
Continue reading to learn how to become a freelance medical biller.
How to Become a Medical Biller
Medical biller job description
Medical billers use the codes designated by medical coders to accurately generate claims for insurance companies and invoices for patients. In addition to these duties, a medical biller may also have several more duties, including:
- communicating with insurance companies
- obtaining insurance referrals and pre-authorizations
- verifying insurance eligibility and benefits
- setting up patient payment plans
Some medical billers are employed by a medical business for which they do medical billing. Other medical billers work for themselves, doing freelance medical billing for one or more medical businesses.
How much does a medical biller make?
According to PayScale, the average annual salary for medical billers is $40,138 and the average hourly rate for medical billers is $16.43.
Medical billing has a really good future. This job is considered to be in the Bureau of Labor Statistics job category of Medical Records and Health Information Technicians, with a job growth outlook from 2019-2029 of 8%, much faster than the average job growth rate.
What qualities and skills should a medical biller possess?
Medical billing is a great fit for many people who have the right personal characteristics and skills. A successful medical biller will be:
- detail oriented
- good at multi-tasking
- a good communicator
- a good listener
Where can I get medical biller training?
You definitely need training if you want to be a medical biller. If you want a career in medical billing, you should get either a diploma (this can take anywhere from several weeks to several months, depending on the institution), a two-year Associate’s degree or a four-year Bachelor’s degree.
A higher degree, plus certification, can mean higher pay once you graduate.
Although medical billing is often its own job, the training and education is usually combined with medical coding.
There are many, many, online courses which teach medical billing and coding. Just a few of these courses are:
- Medical Billing Live (comprehensive bundle of 11 medical billing training courses)
- Medical Billing Course (this course is for only medical billing)
- Herzing University (medical billing and coding course)
- Vista College (medical billing and coding course)
There are also many two-year colleges where you can get an Associates’ Degree in medical billing and coding. You’ll find a good list of many of them right here.
Wherever you get your medical billing education or training, make sure the institution is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIM), The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) or one of the six regional agencies which offer accreditation:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Medical billing is a very serious job, so whether you want to be an employee for a company or work in medical billing as a freelancer, you should also get the Certified Professional Biller (CPB) certification.
Where can I find work-from-home medical billing jobs?
Your medical billing training or education should give you lots of guidance and assistance in finding a good freelance medical billing job.
You also can find medical biller jobs on all kinds of job search engines such as:
- LinkedIn Jobs
Now that you know how to become a medical biller, you can get started freelancing in this promising career!
Cover image by Daniel Friesenecker