In the last few decades, the healthcare system has significantly changed.
New medical and technological developments have created a highly intricated system that still aspires to provide the best medical attention to all types of patients.
An area that has seen a great transformation, is the billing area.
With the advancement of health insurance companies and new medical treatments and procedures, billing a patient for the services provided nowadays is complex, to say the least.
That’s where Medical Billers and Medical Coders are of great help.
We’ll review some of the basic information about medical coding, medical coding training, and its cost in the next few sections.
Table of Contents
- What Is Medical Coding?
- What Does a Medical Coder Do?
- What Is the Difference Between a Medical Coder and a Medical Biller?
- Medical Coding Training
- Do I Need Certification as a Medical Coder?
- What Do I Need to Enroll in a Medical Coder Training Program?
- How Much Does Medical Coding Training Cost?
What Is Medical Coding?
The conversion of diagnosis, interventions, equipment, and overall medical services into medical codes, is called medical coding.
There are specific classification systems that are employed to transform medical notes and files into codes.
Once this has been done, the billing process can continue.
What Does a Medical Coder Do?
The first thing that a Medical Coder does is to collect all the documents that the physician has created for a certain patient.
All the information about the visit of that patient will be in those documents, and the Coder will have to decipher them and transform that information into medical codes.
If there are any problems with the claim, Medical Coders can be consulted.
What Is the Difference Between a Medical Coder and a Medical Biller?
Medical Coders and Medical Billers are part of the medical billing process.
Medical Billers are in charge of checking the insurance information of a patient, creating a claim using the codes provided by the Medical Coder, and submitting and following the claim to assure payments.
Yet with proper training, the same person can do both jobs.
Medical Coding Training
In order to become a Medical Coder, you must enroll in a medical coding training program.
These can be divided into two categories, course training, and associate’s degree programs.
Training courses are generally online although some can be taught in person.
They are mostly offered by private associations and community colleges and last from 4 months to a year to complete.
The majority of these courses also prepare students to obtain certification.
Associate’s Degree Program
If you want to have a deeper understanding and knowledge of medical coding, an associate’s degree might be the perfect fit for you.
These degrees usually include medical billing and medical insurance courses.
This allows the student to have a better comprehension of the entire medical billing process.
An associate’s degree tends to last from two to three years to complete.
They can also be online or in person.
Do I Need Certification as a Medical Coder?
You do need certification to work as a Medical Coder.
There are different certifications, depending on the area you wish to focus on.
For inpatient coding, there is the Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC), and the Certified Outpatient Coder (COC) for hospitals that have these services.
The most common certification though is the Certified Professional Coder (CPC), which is also for those who want to work in outpatient settings.
These tests are administered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).
The Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) exam is also available for those who have pursued training in medical billing and coding.
What Do I Need to Enroll in a Medical Coder Training Program?
The typical requirement to enroll in a Medical Coder Training Program is to have a high school diploma or an equivalent, such as passing the General Educational Development (GED) test.
Online programs tend to have software and hardware requirements, so it’s important to check them first.
How Much Does Medical Coding Training Cost?
The cost of medical coding training is going to vary according to the city where you live, the program you choose, and the institution where you want to study.
For training courses, you can expect to pay from $800 to $3,000.
If you select an associate’s degree program, then you’ll be paying between $15,000 to $30,000.
Certification exams can cost from $117 to $300.
However, some of the training programs already have the cost of certification exams included.