What is Medical Billing and Coding?

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Earning a Medical Billing or Coding Degree

In today’s healthcare industry, skilled and qualified medical insurance billers and coders are needed in order to accurately register, record, and track patients’ accounts. Whenever patients undergo medical exams or procedures, the medical office works with patients and their insurance companies to process claims so that the medical office revenue runs smoothly.

What is Medical Billing and Coding?

Medical billers and coders may prep insurance claims, negotiate payment terms, or assign clinical codes for reimbursement. Working at a computer to complete tasks is often required and salaries may vary depending on a person’s qualifications and experience. Although medical billers and coders have different job responsibilities, both are known as health information technicians who oversee health information data and work to ensure the quality and security of both paper and electronic records.

Medical billers and coders work in a variety of settings like hospitals, mental health facilities, physician offices, dental offices, and surgery centers. A degree in medical billing or coding could be a great way to jumpstart your healthcare career, whether you earn a post-secondary certificate or diploma, a two-year associate’s degree, or a four-year bachelor’s.

Medical Billing and Coding Courses

There are several different avenues available for students who want to earn a certificate, diploma or degree in medical billing and coding. 

Trade or healthcare career-oriented schools may offer post-secondary certificate or diploma programs, which could help you pursue an entry-level career in the field.  Community colleges may grant two-year associate’s degrees in medical billing and coding, while four-year universities offer bachelor’s degrees with more extensive training. Online medical coding and billing programs may also be a convenient way to earn your certificate or degree. 

You may be wondering what type of classes you could take while earning your medical billing and coding degree. The following are some typical medical billing and coding courses:

  • Anatomy and Physiology

  • Medical Coding I

  • Medical Coding II

  • Electronic Health Records

  • Medical Insurance and Billing

  • Pharmacology

  • Computer Software Programs

  • Healthcare Reimbursement Methodologies

Medical Billing vs. Medical Coding

While medical coders and billers are essential for processing patient data and insurance information, there are differences when it comes to medical billing vs. medical coding.

Medical Billers

Medical billers make sure that patients are billed correctly and they communicate with patients and insurance companies so that invoices are paid on time. Billers must also understand coding language and how to read invoices. This career could be great if you want to be employed within the healthcare field and you enjoy working with people as well as spending time analyzing data.

Medical Coders

Unlike medical billers who interact with patients and insurance companies, medical coders spend their time assessing data and coding it. Every duty in a medical office has a certain code assigned to it. Coders must know how to assign the appropriate codes by analyzing patients’ records such as doctors’ notes, ordered laboratory tests, imaging studies, and other sources. Medical coders and billers often work together to ensure invoices are properly paid.

Why qualities are useful when earning a degree in medical billing or coding?

If you desire to work within the heath care industry as a medical biller or coder, there are personal qualities that could help you in your career such as:

  • Detail-oriented

  • Computer literate

  • Analytical

  • Team player

  • Accurate

  • Professional

  • Positive attitude