The booming health care industry has brought forth the need to outsource few of the administrative processes so that doctors and medical staff can concentrate on their core job, i.e., to provide the best treatment to the patients. This has generated new career opportunities in the field of medical billing. Normally, there are three parties to a claim - health care provider, insurance company, and the patient. The job of a medical biller is to ensure that the claim is settled without any issues. They can work independently and in clinical settings as well.
Duties and Responsibilities
Medical billers are responsible for maintaining records of patient billing and claims, monetary settlements, and medical insurance. He has to keep the records right from the diagnosis to the treatment, for proper and timely disbursement of payment. Also, he has to fill in the claim form correctly by coordinating with the service provider, patient, and insurer, or else a mistake might delay the whole process. He is also responsible for allocating the right amount that is to be paid by the insurance company and the patient on the basis of the remittance receipt. In case of online billing, he has to feed the data into a software and the details are sent to the insurance company through email.
Currently, there are no set educational standards for this profession. A formal training in medical billing offered by an accredited vocational training institute is generally accepted. Such programs can last from nine months to two years depending on the level of study. Employers generally prefer hiring those individuals who have some experience working in a clinical environment. The prior knowledge and experience related to billing and reporting is also considered while hiring such professionals. Knowledge of federal programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, and tools like Medisoft and Meditech would provide the aspirant an edge over the others.
Apart from the required professional knowledge, an individual is expected to be hands-on with computers and office administration tools like MS Office, especially if it is an online job. For the proper handling of documents and files, one must possess organizational skills because even a single mistake might lead to legal issues and interruption of the billing process. Other than self-organization and discipline, the individual should be good at communication and interpersonal skills.
The job would provide one an opportunity to experience different work environment. A biller has very less contact with the patients, as his main concern is about administrative and back-end work. He might have to do some extra work at times depending on the urgency. Irrespective of working from home or a clinic, he must have a computer, a billing software, and other equipment like a printer and a fax machine.
Such jobs are usually available at clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, government health organizations, private institutions, and on the web. Working under an expert, initially, can help in developing professional relations with insurance companies and health care institutions. It is currently one of the fastest growing professions for home-based jobs. With a little experience and training, one can opt for these occupational roles:
- Billing specialist
- Patient account representative
- Billing coordinator
- Reimbursement specialist
The salary and other benefits depend on three factors - domain knowledge, years of experience, and work location. The entry-level salary is generally between USD 25,000 to USD 38,000 per annum. This is bound to increase with higher experience and skills, and can even go up to USD 70,000 per annum. It also depends on the marketing strategies adopted and the quality of work delivered.
Opportunities in medical billing are growing by leaps and bounds, and entering into the profession at this stage would definitely take you to great heights, provided you work with dedication and sincerity.