How to Become a Medical Biller and Insurance Coder  

 Many people want to work in the healthcare field, supporting the needs of patients, but may not want to work in a hands-on job. Medical Billing and Insurance coding is a fast-paced, rewarding job in this sector. You can learn how to become a Medical Biller and Insurance coder within a few steps, but the ultimate goal will be to find a program that fits your lifestyle needs. At Summit College, we offer a program that helps you get into the field sooner with the skills you need.

What Are Medical Billers and Insurance Coders?

A Medical Biller and an Insurance coder are two different tasks performed by trained individuals. They are an important component of the healthcare administration field. If you work as a medical coder, you will likely work cataloging the type and level of care provided to a patient by a doctor or other medical provider.

Most often, medical billers manage a patient’s insurance billing and the processing of payment for clients for the care they received. They provide administrative tasks to ensure that patients are billed properly.

What Are the Tasks a Medical Coder or Biller Will Perform?

The work of a medical coder or biller will be somewhat specific to the job field itself. However, most often, the day-to-day work includes:

  • Review patient records to ensure accuracy and gather missing data
  • Maintain records for insurance reimbursement
  • Use the classification system to assign the appropriate codes to the specific services provided, including medical services, procedures, and diagnosis
  • Ensure patient records are maintained confidentially
  • Record all data for collection and reporting through the organization’s electronic health record system

A person who works in this field will need to meet some specific requirements and goals.

  • They have to be detail oriented. Small mistakes in coding or errors in medical reports and records can create complications for patient care and billing.
  • Individuals must be ethical, discrete and safeguard sensitive information or notifications related to patient’s treatment.
  • They work with people, which means they have to be patient-oriented, providing a level of understanding and compassion for those in need.

Those in this field will need computer skills and be able to work quickly to meet the provider’s demands. They often will need to work with other people in the medical office where they work, so team-oriented individuals are often beneficial to the work environment.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that those working as medical records specialists earned a median pay of $46,660 per year in 2021 and that the industry is likely to see job growth of about 7%. In California, which has the highest employment of medical billing and coders, the mean annual wage is $65,850 or $31.66 hourly.

How Do You Become a Medical Coder or Biller?

Generally, you will learn the same skills in either of these paths, with the goal of taking a job in either field. Most of the time, this means obtaining an undergraduate certificate. Medical coders and billers need very specific training beyond high school to learn the methods and procedures required. A component of that process will be completing a certificate program.

This type of training from an accredited program will help you to achieve specific goals. Some of what you may learn in this program include:

  • Medical terminology related to the job field, including medical abbreviations, and medical knowledge in general, including the structure of the body and organs
  • Health insurance and medical reimbursement foundational skills, as well as various types of policies and coverage types used, which may also include submissions, electronic claims processing, and accurate data entry
  • Cataloging and documenting patient care along with patient confidentiality rules and requirements
  • Using the International Classification of Disease Coding principles, including learning and following procedures, evaluations, and assessment codes
  • Using a coding system including all requirements for the field you plan to work in

Students can expect to learn the skills they need to work in the field, one-on-one with patients but also with doctors and other administrative professionals. Real-world skills, communications, and strategies are all very important components of this job.

Complete Your Education and Certification Preparation

Those who complete their education will then want to focus on certification exam preparation. Most certificate programs will entail several required courses to be met. Then, the student is readily able to sit for their exam, but because this field involves a lot of memorization and accuracy, a prep course could be beneficial.

Take Your Medical Biller and Coding Exam

There are three separate certification exams that you may wish to take based on the career path you plan to take.

  • CCS: The Certified Coding Specialist Exam from the American Health Information Management Association
  • CCA: The Certified Coding Associate Exam from the American Health Information Management Association
  • CPC: Certified Professional Coder Exam from the American Academy of Professional Coders
  • CBCS: Certified Billing & Coding Specialist from the National Healthcareer Association

Which one you complete is dependent on numerous factors, including where you wish to work. If you have an idea of what type of job you hope to have or even which company you plan to work with, learn more about their requirements. Some employers may prefer one of the above certifications, while others are more lenient and want to be sure you have at least one accreditation to your name.

Apply for a Job and Get to Work

Once you obtain your certification, you are then able to take on a job in the field. You may be able to work in a range of different environments depending on your goals and availability in your area. Some examples include:

  • Private hospitals
  • State and local hospitals
  • Specialty clinics
  • Physician’s offices
  • Nursing and residential care facilities
  • Administrative and support service organizations
  • Rehabilitation programs

Other opportunities may exist in your area, too. Many people will work in various types of facilities over their careers, based on whether they want to work for a large organization or a smaller one.

Why Get Your Medical Biller and Medical Coder Education at Summit College?

You have options when it comes to getting your education. At Summit College, our Medical Billing and Insurance Coding program is designed to meet your needs.

  • Fast track your education to start your career sooner.
  • Trust highly skilled professionals with a strong history of supporting student needs.
  • Get support throughout the educational program.
  • Expect a comprehensive program, one that meets all of your goals.
  • Get started right away.

Learn more about our medical billing and insurance coding program now. Summit College offers a career training readiness score that can help you know exactly where to go next.