If you have an affinity for numbers and can dive into details to resolve disputes like a diplomat, you might enjoy a career as a medical biller. Hospitals and medical practices depend on the organizational skills and tenacity of medical billers to ensure a steady flow of revenue. For a better perspective, review the job description provided by the U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics.
Maintain complete and accurate records of a patient’s medical history. The records often include a compilation of a patient’s health issues, symptoms, exams and results, treatments and prescription information. A medical biller must understand medical terminology, human anatomy and physiology and pharmacology.
Update patient records in a timely manner. Requests for payment from insurance providers can be rejected if patient records are incomplete or inaccurate.
Display proficiency with medical coding and precision in assigning the information to patient databases. A universal medical code is assigned to every injury, illness and medical procedure. Some codes can change every year, so medical billers should stay up to date through continuing education courses or medical seminars.
Produce patient billing reports. This task requires skill at retrieving, analyzing and communicating vital and sometimes complex patient data.
Protect patients’ right to confidentiality and ensure that patient information is guarded against unauthorized access. To do so, medical billers should understand the fundamentals of patient privacy rights, which are addressed in the far-reaching Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, more commonly known as HIPAA.
Work with insurance providers to ensure payment—the heart and soul of a medical biller’s job. The job entails: calling to authorize a treatment for a treatment to guarantee that it will be paid; submitting insurance claims; and following up with insurance providers to secure payment. Medical billers also appeal denied or rejected claims—the terms are sometimes interchangeable—and will process payments.
Some employers also require certification through a professional organization. In fact, several organizations confer this status, so be sure to investigate your options.
Factor in the long-term outlook for medical billers. The BLS estimates that the demand for them will increase by 21 percent by 2020, which is higher than the average for all other jobs that the BLS tracks. The median annual pay for medical billers as of May 2010 was $32,350, though those in the top 10 percent of wage earners made more than $53,430 a year.