Getting an online degree in Medical Billing and Coding

With increasing dependence on technology in the healthcare sector, there is more work for medical billing and coding specialists. Every patient’s visit to a doctor requires a medical billing and coding specialist to code the documents for claiming payment properly.

Medical billing specialists complete all the forms to claim reimbursement from insurance companies, Medicare, and other state medical aid plans.

It is becoming a secure career for steady income. Many institutes offer online courses at affordable rates. On course completion, students get completion certificates and get the opportunity to prepare themselves for nationally recognized exams.

National certification exams add up to their knowledge and skills and help them market their expertise to potential employers. To know more about the online career options this job has to offer, stay tuned.

What does this profession involve?

Medical billing involves sending bills to insurance companies and other aid plans to claim the payment for the services provided to the patient. In contrast, medical coding deals with converting healthcare services into medical codes for correct reimbursement.

Medical coders convert healthcare diagnoses, medical services, medical equipment, and procedures into alphanumeric codes using coding systems such as ICD-10, ICD-10-PCS, CPT, and HCPCS.

The typical responsibilities included in medical billing and coding jobs are patient encounters, file handling, appointment scheduling, and other medical business procedures in various settings.

The process to get the degree

Various accredited schools offer online courses for medical billing and coding. Depending upon the school and course chosen, the course may have 18 months to two years’ tenure. These programs prepare the students for an entry-level job and national certifications exams.

Before you pick a school for an online course, you must consider the cost, program, format, and subject areas included in the course. Generally, a two-year associate degree has coursework of 60 credits that cover general, major, and elective classes.

Students study medical terminology, human anatomy, physiology, pathology, insurance plans and regulations, patient account management, medical insurance claim processing, medical coding and systems, and software applications used in healthcare.

Associate national certification exams

Once you complete the online medical coding and billing course, you will be qualified for appearing in the associate national certification exams and getting certification which includes:

  • Certified Professional Coder (CPC), Certified Outpatient Coder (COC), Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC), or Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA) Board Exam certifications by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)
  • Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CRMS) Board Exam certifications by the American Medical Billing Association
  • Certified Coding Associate (CCA), Certified Coding Specialist (CCS), or Certified Coding Specialist Physician-Based (CCS-P) Board Exam certifications by the American Health Information Management Association

Career options with medical billing and coding certifications

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected job outgrowth for medical billing and coding jobs is 13% by 2026. 

The median annual salary is $39,180 per year for health information technicians, and the median annual salary of medical transcriptionists is $35,250 per year.

Possible career options for after completion of medical billing and coding course are:

  • Medical Billing
  • Medical Coding
  • Medical Transcription
  • Medical Records
  • Medical Auditing
  • Practice Management and Education

Membership of professional medical billing and coding organizations

You can join professional medical billing and coding organizations through their membership program. Through this, students and working professionals get plenty of resources to broaden their knowledge and excel in their careers. The benefits include job search assistance, continuing education webinars, and networking opportunities. 

American Medical Billing Association, American Academy of Professional Coders, and American Health Information Management Association offer gold-standard certifications and other valuable resources for the membership holders.

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