Medical Billing and Coding Information & FAQs

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You may be interested in the healthcare field and wondering, “What do medical billers and coders do?” Maybe you visited your doctor recently and noticed activity behind the scenes or wondered what those codes meant when you paid your bill. The following FAQs should assist you in better understanding medical billing and coding as well as give you scholarship and certification information.

What do medical billers and coders do?

While medical billers and coders both work within the healthcare industry, they are distinct careers. For example, any time a patient sees a doctor, the medical office works with the patient’s insurance company to process claims.

A medical coder will assign codes for each task that is performed in the doctor’s office. A medical biller will ensure that everything is billed correctly and will spend time analyzing invoices and contacting insurance companies. Medical billers and coders may even work together to ensure the accuracy of claims.

What are some medical billing and coding scholarships?

Scholarships can be a great help for students who are interested in earning a medical billing and coding degree. Because they are awarded to qualifying students as “gift money”, scholarships are worth looking into. Scholarship amounts and terms may vary depending on the granting organizations.

Below are some medical billing and coding scholarships:

  • American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Foundation [i]: Applicants must be actively seeking degrees, be members of the American Health Information Management Association, and have a cumulative 3.5 GPA. Four levels of scholarships are awarded from $1,000 to $2,500.

  • HRSA Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students [ii]: As a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) offers scholarships to eligible applicants to help with tuition, fees, books, and living expenses. Applicants must be legal citizens and come from a disadvantaged background.

  • Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP) [iii]: The ASAHP grants a $1,000 scholarship to students who qualify and are members. Students must be nominated by their school for achieving excellence in academics and for reflecting their future potential in allied health professions.

What certification do you need to become a medical biller and coder?

Certification entails passing an exam given by an accepted professional billing and coding association. Earning a certification in medical billing and coding could assist you in creating a solid foundation within the medical billing and coding industry.

The AAPC or AHIMA can administer the national certification exams you need. You may be required to already have your associate’s or training at an accredited school prior to taking your exam.

The AAPC offers these certifications [iv]:

  • Certified Professional Coder (CPC): Considered the gold standard for medical coding in doctor’s offices.

  • Certified Professional Coder-Hospital Outpatient (CPC-H): Coding certification specializing in outpatient facility/hospital services.

  • Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC): Certification dedicated exclusively to inpatient hospital/facility coding.

  • Certified Professional Coder-Payer (CPC-P): This certification is to meet the demand for certified coders who work with the health plan industry.

  • Specialty Medical Coding Certification: Designed for experienced coders, these are stand alone certifications.

The AHIMA offers these certifications [v]:

  • Certified Coding Associate (CCA): Certification provides coding competencies across all settings like hospitals and physician based locations.

  • Certified Coding Specialist (CCS): This certification is for mastery-level professionals who generally work in hospital settings.

  • Certified Coding Specialist-Physician-Based (CCS-P): Certification for mastery-level coding practitioner with expertise in physician-based settings like such as physician offices, group practices, or specialty centers.

What type of school should I attend if I’m interested in becoming a medical biller or coder?

Since there are a variety of schools to choose from, you should pick the one that is best suited to your educational needs. You could select from trade schools that offer certificate programs, community colleges that grant associate’s which typically take two years to complete, or a four-year college or university where you could earn a bachelor’s. Online medical billing and coding programs might be additional options.

Asking what do medical billers and coders do, can lead you in the right direction to earning your medical billing and coding degree and jumpstarting your career. You, too, could pursue a rewarding career in medical billing and coding. Get started today by earning your degree!

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