5 Benefits of a Career in Medical Coding and Billing
If you are looking for a career in the medical field with an array of opportunities, medical coding and billing might be right for you. It’s a well-known fact that careers in the healthcare field are booming. However, not everyone wants to work long hours and deal with the physical demands that some of the other careers in the healthcare field have, like long shifts and constant patient care.
Medical coders transform procedures, diagnoses, and medical services and equipment into universal medical alphanumeric numbers. These codes are used to file patient data for insurance purposes. Medical billing is the process of submitting claims to health insurances. Medical coders and billers are crucial to healthcare. They are the ones making sure a patient’s files are correct and insurance claims are error free.
These professionals are becoming increasingly important in the medical field since medicine is discovering new procedures and treatments at a fast pace. The population is aging, which means there will be more tests and more insurance claims.
This is the right time to get a certification in medical coding or billing that will prepare you with the right skills for the job market. At Northwestern College, our Medical Insurance Billing Specialist Certificate and Coding Specialist Certificate Programs are intended for people who are looking to launch a new career in the coding and billing field, and also individuals who are already working in a medical records-related field. You will learn how to complete claim forms; understand various types of insurance; assist health consumers and healthcare providers with questions regarding insurance, how to verify insurance coverage, obtain pre-authorization and verification; and submit electronic claims to clearinghouses and third-party payers in ambulatory care settings.
If you are considering a career in medical coding or medical insurance billing but still have doubts, here’s a list of five benefits of this field that can help you make your decision.
- It’s an in-demand job
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook from 2014 to 2024 for medical records and health information technician is 15%. Much higher than the national average of 7%. This data show how fast the field is growing compared to others and the number of opportunities graduates will have with the right training.
However, even though there is a high demand for coding professionals, employers look for specialists who can do a good job and avoid mistakes. Medical offices and hospitals usually have a high rate of insurance claim denial because of coding errors, and to avoid that, they want to hire a specialist who pays attention to detail. It’s not enough to only do the job, you must do the job well to guarantee your place in the job market.
A good way to acquire the right knowledge is to look for well-rounded instruction that covers everything you need to know to start working as a medical coder and biller. Students must invest in an education that will prepare them with hands-on training and courses that are in tune with the latest trends and the demands of the workforce.
At Northwestern College, we offer programs that are aligned to what employers are currently looking for. You will have classes covering medical terminology and coding, but also anatomy, physiology, and everything you will need to understand medical terms.
- You can work flexible hours
Working as a medical coder will allow you to have options. It’s a good career for those who want to be in the medical field but who wish to keep a good work–life balance.
Medical coders usually work 40 hours a week or part-time. Depending on the work environment, you can also work alternative hours and manage your schedule according to your needs, if they align with what your employer is looking for. As you gain experience in the area, choosing your work schedule and adapting it to your needs will become easier.
- You can work in different settings
You will have multiple options when choosing what setting you want to work in: doctors’ offices, hospitals, nursing homes, healthcare facilities, outpatient surgery centers, and even your home. Every healthcare setting needs a coding and billing specialist, so that gives you room to choose.
Many companies also offer remote jobs, allowing you to work from wherever you are. It can be from home or from that great coffee shop you like to visit.
Working as a freelancer is an option too. When you start to get more experience in the field and have a good networking base, you can build your company, making your own hours and choosing your own clients. You will be able to manage your time in a way that will allow you to spend quality time with your family and/or pursue other goals while having a stable career as a medical coder or biller.
Medical coders and medical billers can also relocate to different states easily without jeopardizing their careers. Since they can work remotely most of the time, it’s not complicated to keep the same clients, even when you are relocating to a different state.
- Your training will not demand clinical visits
If you want to work in the medical field, but cannot work long hours or just don’t want to see a lot of blood, medical coding is a good way to go. You will be able to work with the business side of healthcare, but you will still be dealing with doctors and medicine.
As a medical coder and biller, you will still be an essential part of the healthcare industry, but you will not have to compromise hours with your family or give up that office setting you like to work in.
- You can start work quickly
The Coding Specialist Certificate Program and the Medical Insurance Billing Specialist Certificate Program at Northwestern College can be completed in just one year. Whichever you choose, each will give you everything you need to launch your career in a short period of time.
In the Coding Specialist Certificate Program, you will:
- Gain a foundation of learning in medical terminology; anatomy and physiology; and pathophysiology
- Prepare to work as a certified coding specialist in health data management
- Understand compliance with medical law and ethical standards as set out by national health service organizations
- Receive health informatics training that meets the core values as identified by the American Health Information Management Association
- Acquire the qualifications to sit for the Certified Coding Specialist exam
If you choose the Medical Insurance Billing Specialist Certificate Program, you will:
- Understand the various types of insurance plans
- Apply payer policy, Local Coverage Determinations (LCD), and National Coverage Determinations (NCD) for successful claim submissions
- Demonstrate knowledge of ICD-10-CM, CPT, and HCPCS Level II coding guidelines
- Successfully navigate the varying rules and regulations applying to the healthcare industry, including HIPAA, False Claims Act, Fair Debt Collections Act, and Stark
- Demonstrate expertise in effective claim follow-up, patient follow-up, and denial resolution
To start in a new career in the medical field you must learn about all the different medical nomenclatures and insurance claims, but also get experience. That’s why it’s good to learn from instructors who are seasoned professionals and can share their knowledge in the classroom.
As part of your program at Northwestern College, you will cover essential courses, such as:
Ambulatory Reimbursement: Introduction to insurance basics and principles as they pertain to the variety of payers; direct application of third-party and managed-care policies, procedures, and guidelines, including obtaining referrals and pre-certifications; and billing for services, including insurance claim forms and fee schedules.
Coding and Classification Systems: This course is a study of the official coding rules, guidelines, and classification systems for assigning valid diagnostic codes for ICD-10-CM. Students will abstract health information according to regulatory guidelines for acute hospital or professional coding.
Medical Terminology: This course is a technical approach to medical vocabulary studying word elements. Emphasis is placed on spelling, pronunciation, and word analysis. Study focuses on anatomical, diagnostic, operative, and symptomatic terms that apply to each body system and medical specialty.
For those who already work in the field, a certification can create more job opportunities and will qualify you to take exams for the American Medical Billing Association, Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist, American Academy of Professional Coders, or the Certified Professional Biller credential.
Thorough instruction is crucial to prepare you for all the challenges you will find when you enter the workforce. A hands-on experience will give you the right skills to launch a successful career in the medical coding and billing field and to take advantage of the growing opportunities.
At Northwestern College, the Coding Specialist Certificate Program and the Medical Insurance Billing Specialist Certificate Program will cover everything you need to successfully launch your career. Classes start four times a year, and you can learn more about the program by visiting NC.edu