How Can I Become a Medical Biller?

Research what it takes to become a medical biller. Learn about education requirements, job duties and employment outlook to find out if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Insurance Billing & Coding Specialist degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Medical Biller?

Medical billers are a type of health information technician. They work in health care offices and help create patient invoices, submit insurance claims and answer billing questions. They maintain records of all payments made by patients. In some smaller practices, medical billers may be required to do double duty as office receptionists or as medical coders.

The following chart gives an overview about what you need to know before entering this field.

Degree Required Postsecondary certificate or associate's degree may be required
Education Field of Study Health information technology, medical office billing and coding
Licensure/Certification Voluntary certification available through the Health Information Management Association
Key Responsibilities Assemble billing and reimbursement data; create, verify and mail billing statements; update patient records; assign insurance codes
Job Growth (2014-2024) 15% (all medical records and health information technicians)*
Median Salary (2017) $34,727**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

What is a Medical Biller?

You would be responsible for compiling billing and reimbursement data, as well as ensuring that bills and statements are sent out accurately. Your position might also be referred to as a health information technician.

In smaller medical offices, you may greet and process patients, as well as answer phones, enter patient data into the computer, assign classification coding and manage records. Some of your duties may also emphasize keeping patient information secure and corresponding with other health information networks.

What Should I Study?

Employers may look for applicants with a background in medical office and reimbursement procedures. You can develop the necessary training through a certificate or degree program, such as a medical office billing and coding specialist certificate or Associate of Science in Health Information Technology. These programs can primarily be found at community colleges and vocational training schools.

Your coursework may include anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, coding, health care reimbursement systems and procedures, data management, and standards and requirements for medical data. You can also develop basic skills through courses in communication, word processing and clerical procedures.

You can also pursue voluntary certification. For example, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) designation, which will require that you obtain an associate's degree and pass a written exam.

What is the Job Outlook?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that medical records and health information technicians would see a 15% increase in employment between 2014 and 2024. The BLS noted that much of the growth might be due to the increasing health care needs of the aging population, with more trained technicians needed to manage the complexities of electronic record keeping.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A similar occupation to medical coder is that of information clerk. In general, information clerks collect appropriate data, maintain data records and provide information to customers. A postsecondary certificate or associate's degree may be required. According to the BLS, there are a number of different specialties that fall under the umbrella of information clerk. They include human resource assistants, file clerks, correspondence clerks, municipal clerks and hotel, motel and resort front desk clerks.

Medical transcriptionists or healthcare documentation specialists are the translators and interpreters of the medical profession. A postsecondary certificate or an associate's degree can prepare you to become a medical transcriptionist. The primary duty is to listen to voice recordings of medical reports and transcribe or convert them to the written word. They must accurately interpret medical terminology or abbreviations.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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