A medical biller, sometimes known as a medical coder, is an expert in the area of medical invoices, insurance claims, and other associated administrative tasks.
Medical billers must have excellent organizational skills and a very strong attention to detail.
This is one of the few careers in health where there is no, or very little, direct contact with patients.
If you want to work in health but your strengths are in administration, then working as a medical biller may be well suited to you.
To become a medical biller, the most important skill you have will be your administrative strength.
Medical billers are required to not only apply a lot of attention to detail themselves, but also need to spot errors and omissions made by others.
The role of the medical biller helps clinics and hospitals to run smoothly and ensures better time management for everyone.
Education Requirements to Become a Medical Biller
Strong computer skills, as well as administrative skills are important in this role.
If you are at high school, or in training to become a medical biller, having a part time role in administration will help you gain experience.
If you don’t have good computer literacy you may like to improve on this by taking some courses.
Some medical billers learn on the job, however most complete an education programs to become a certified medical biller.
Having your certification opens up more job opportunities and often a larger salary also.
Most medical billers complete an associate’s degree in medical billing or health information systems, some go on to achieve higher degrees in this field also.
The average time to earn a medical billing degree is about 2 years.
Training involves subjects on administrative procedure, record keeping and archiving, database management, as well as basic anatomy and physiology.
A very strong understanding of medical terminology is required.
There are many options to complete your education as a medical biller.
You can complete a course at community college, vocational school, or even online.
After you have completed your course you can apply for certification, and sit and exam.
While there is no actual requirement for certification in most places, having this can improve your employment prospects.
Medical Biller Job Description
The job of a medical biller is twofold.
During a patient’s care, a medical biller records all procedures and tests undertaken, using a system of codes.
Codes are used because if the actual terms were written out, the invoices would quickly become hundreds of pages long.
The second part of the job is the actual billing, where a patient will be invoiced, or the medical biller will complete the necessary paperwork to submit an insurance claim.
They are also responsible for following up invoices and claims.
Here are some of the tasks a medical biller might complete.
- Monitoring patients charts
- Keeping a record of patient treatment
- Communicating with medical staff
- Communicating with patients
- Preparing invoices
- Preparing insurance claims
- Following up claims and unpaid invoices
- Maintaining databases
- Ensuring all information is correct
- Look out for errors or omissions in information
Medical Biller Salary and Career Path
Most medical billers start out their career by working as a medical secretary or other administrative position.
They learn on the job, and after some experience and time, are promoted to the role of medical biller.
Those with more education or certification may begin in a medical billing position right away.
Medical billers are mainly employed by hospitals.
They also work for smaller clinics and specialists, as well as insurance companies.
Working as a medical biller can make for a flexible career choice if you have other commitments.
Many medical billers work from home, which can be helpful if you have a busy family life.
An entry level medical biller could expect to achieve a salary of around $25,000 a year.
Those with more experience will earn closer to the median wage of $30,000 a year.
The top 10% in this industry earn over $40,000 a year.
Employment prospects in this sector are very strong, which high growth expected in the next five years.
If you are seeking stable employment, then working as a medical biller or coder is a good choice.
Medical billing and coding is a good career choice for those interested in health, but wanting to work within the administrative side of things.
Very stable employment is available, along with flexible working conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a medical biller do?
Medical billers are in charge of calculating and submitting payment claims for medical procedures and services to insurance companies.
As a medical biller, you will be the interface between healthcare providers and insurance companies.
Medical billers use standardized codes to make complex treatments easier to invoice.
They use billing software to develop payment plans, record late payments, and prepare invoices.
Medical billers also update patient data, check patients’ eligibility for some treatments, hospitalization and other medical procedures, examine patients’ bills for accuracy and resolve any financial discrepancies between the healthcare provider’s records and those of the insurance company.
To be a good medical biller you need knowledge of billing software, medical insurance procedures, and state laws regarding health services.
You will email and call insurance companies, answer patients’ questions, be in charge of obtaining pre-authorizations for the medical procedures needed by your clients.
You will work in offices in healthcare facilities and spend many hours in front of the computer and on the phone.
Medical billers need good interpersonal skills when they interact with patients, analytical skills when coding patients’ medical treatments and technical skills when using coding software and the electronic health record (EHR) system.
How much does a medical biller make?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t record information about medical billers but they provide data about medical records and health information technicians
As a medical records and health information technician, you can make anywhere between less than $25,000 and more than $65,000 a year.
According to BLS, the median annual wage in this field was $40,350 in May 2018.
How much does it cost to become a medical biller?
Medical billers usually hold a diploma or degree in medical billing.
Costs vary widely depending on the school and the type of program you choose.
There are medical billing programs that take around 4-6 weeks to complete and cost around $700.
For trade schools, you can expect to spend between $1,000 and $2,000 for certification.
An accredited medical billing program at a college can cost you between $8,000 and $19,000.
What is the demand for medical billers?
According to BLS, the employment of medical records and health information technicians is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.
As the demand for medical services grows, medical billers will continue to be needed in order to intermediate the relation between patients, healthcare facilities and insurance companies.
How long does it take to become a medical biller?
To become a medical biller you need to get your high school diploma followed by a medical billing program at a trade school or an associate’s degree program in Health Care Information Technology.
Post-secondary education programs include courses in medical terminology, classification and coding systems, healthcare reimbursement methods, healthcare statistics, computer systems.
Many employers prefer some kind of certification like the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) and the Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR).