Medical billing is a career for which you can receive the necessary training in less than one year of formal education. You might choose to become a medical biller if you are very detail oriented and think analytically. There is faster-than-average job growth in the field, and medical billers have the option of working in either hospitals or a physician's office.
Medical billers review coded health records and submit an itemized bill to a patient's insurance company. The primary responsibility of medical billers is to ensure that billing is processed correctly. In some cases, the biller must resolve problems and correct errors made by insurance companies. While there are no strict requirements for working as a medical biller, most such professionals complete a training program leading to the award of a certificate; some such programs are available online. Certification is not mandatory.
|Required Education||None mandatory; most hold a certificate in medical billing|
|Certification||Voluntary through the American Medical Billing Association|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)||11% for medical records and health information technicians*|
|Mean Salary (2018)|| $39,000 for billing and posting clerks employed by doctors' offices*
$39,480 for billing and posting clerks employed by hospitals*
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Medical Biller Career Overview
Medical billers prepare invoices and manage the collection of payment from insurance companies. They also post payments to their employer's account and conduct any follow-up needed. Most medical billers must also have knowledge of medical coding. Those seeking to enter this field must undergo formal education and training in medical insurance regulations, information systems and records maintenance.
Medical billers must know how to use basic office equipment and computer programs. Communication skills and organization are important when working as a medical biller. Other aspects of business acumen and administrative prowess are looked upon favorably by employers. The training requirements needed to obtain a certificate in medical billing can be completed online or fulfilled at a community college in less than one year. Course topics typically include anatomy and physiology, billing claims and appeals, insurance processing, reimbursement methods, medical terminology and financial management.
For those who wish to demonstrate competency in billing, the American Medical Billing Association offers a voluntary credential as a Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist. Aspiring medical billers must pass an examination to obtain this designation. There is no requirement for billers to be certified, but this credential helps to demonstrate a biller's knowledge and dedication to the industry.
Data from patient medical records is reviewed and fees are computed to determine a final bill for insurance claim submissions. Billers submit the claims to insurance and maintain all accounts as payments are made. Other job duties may include resolving complaints, reviews delinquent accounts and sends those to collection. The biller may need to perform collections duties such as calling patients and resubmitting claims if necessary.
Salary and Employment Outlook
Billers may work for private medical practices, hospitals, nursing homes, insurance companies and pharmacies. Advanced opportunities include the role of billing analyst or government agent who investigates insurance companies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, billing clerks who worked in doctors' offices earned an average annual wage of $39,000 in 2018. Those working in hospitals averaged $39,480. From 2018 to 2028, employment for medical records and health information technicians is projected to grow 11%.
Anyone with an interest in the medical insurance industry could look into a career as a medical biller. A certificate program covers medical coding and other necessary skills, and progression in the career could mean moving from a clinic or nursing home setting to a hospital or government agency.