Medical Billing Jobs

Medical billing jobs are one of the growth jobs for the next decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs in this field will grow by 20%, well above the average of all jobs. Growth is expected because of the increase in the number of medical tests and procedures performed, especially as the general population ages. In 2008, about 172,500 people held these jobs with approximately 39% being employed by hospitals.

This job can also be found under the job titles of medical coder, medical records specialist, or medical information technician.

What is the job of medical billing?

A person with a medical billing job figures out the correct code for a test or procedure given to a patient and places it in the patientís electronic health record. The code is used to determine the reimbursement amount for the doctor or clinic from insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. They prepare patient invoices and enter the payments as received.

A medical records technician organizes and manages patient information by way of electronic health records (EHRs). Both workers must ensure the accuracy, confidentiality, and security of the information. They ensure that federal regulations and insurance guidelines are met.

A medical biller or medical records technician may work at a doctorís office, in a clinic or hospital, or for an insurance company or government agency.

What are the requirements for the job?

For these positions, a high school diploma or GED is required. Then the person must receive additional training in medical coding and billing. Some will go the route of obtaining an Associate degree in health information technology; others attend vocational schools specifically for this health field. In either case, the person must learn the standard types of coding, including ICD for diagnoses codes, CPT for procedure codes, and HCPCS for Medicare claims. The Associate degree may take two years, while another course may be nine months to two years.

Many employers require a certification. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers the Registered Health Information Technician certification. After two years of study, you take an exam to receive this credential. Other professional organizations, such as the American Academy of Professional Coders or the Board of Medical Specialty Coding, present certification in specialty coding. For personality traits, a medical biller or records technician must be accurate, meticulous, and have great problem solving abilities. They must be able to focus on the job and have good time management skills.

What is the work environment?

Medical billers or records technicians work in offices, either a doctorís office or clinic, or a hospital. This is one health job that does not involve interaction with patients. Most in the field work a 40-hour week with some overtime, but others may pull evening or weekend shifts. In 2008, about 14% worked part time. This is also a job that can be done from a home office.

Repetitive injuries, neck, back, and eye strain are the main concerns for these jobs. Planning and implementing an ergonomic work place, whether at an office or at home, is essential to continuing health in this field.

What are the job outlook and advancement opportunities?

Job outlook is outstanding for this field. As the healthcare field continues to grow and become more complicated, there will be an increasing need for people with medical billing skills. Changes in insurance and the healthcare industry will push this field to higher numbers of positions needed.

Career advancement in this field is usually achieved by a higher degree, such as a Bachelorís or by specialty certification. A person can become a health information manager, overseeing a number of medical billers and coders.