How to Become an Insurance Biller in 5 Steps
Research what it takes to become an insurance biller. Learn about certification and education requirements and salary to find out if this is the career for you.
What Does an Insurance Biller Do?
Insurance billers work in the healthcare industry where they help process insurance claims. It is their job to insure a patient's records are accurate and complete, keeping files organized in clinical databases and registers. When a patient receives a medical procedure, insurance billers enter specific codes into the system to tell the insurance provider how much to pay out. Keeping records confidential is essential.
Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.
|Education Required||Vocational diploma, certificate, or associate's degree|
|Key Responsibilities||Process insurance claims or bills, enter codes for patients' medical services into a database, work as go-between for medical facility and billing companies|
|Certification||Certification is strongly recommended|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||11% growth (for all medical records and health information technicians)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$40,350 (for all medical records and health information technicians)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Is an Insurance Biller?
Insurance billers are health information technicians who process insurance claims or bills on behalf of their employers. As an insurance biller, you'll usually work in the healthcare industry, such as in hospitals or physicians' offices, and deal with medical claims. When a patient receives a medical service, you will enter the code for that service into a database. This code tells insurance companies, Medicaid, or Medicare how much to pay for that service. Insurance billers are sometimes referred to as insurance billing specialists and insurance coders.
Step 1: Get Trained
Formal training in insurance billing is available at vocational schools and community colleges in the form of diploma, certificate and associate's degree programs. Diploma and certificate programs can generally be completed in less than one year, while associate's degree programs usually last two years. These programs provide you with the fundamentals of medical billing, such as coursework in medical terminology, human disease, anatomy, and physiology. You can also expect to take courses in medical billing and coding, computer billing applications, claims management, and reimbursement systems.
Step 2: Obtain Certification
Licensure is not required for insurance billers; however, obtaining professional certification is highly recommended. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS) reports that many employers prefer to hire those who have obtained credentialing through certification (www.bls.gov). You may obtain certification through various trade associations, such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).
Step 3: Acquire Work Experience
As an insurance biller, you could work in a variety of environments, such as physicians' offices, government agencies, hospitals, home healthcare centers and nursing care facilities. Generally, you will not work directly with patients, because managing patient records and associated information will be your primary responsibility. In addition to basic billing functions, you may assign procedure and diagnosis codes that correspond with nationally standardized insurance classification systems. The BLS reports that the median salary for medical records and health information technicians was $40,350 in 2018.
Step 4: Join a Trade Organization
Many professional trade organizations offer their members a variety of benefits, such as networking opportunities and advocacy outlets. Some organizations offer online and in-class educational programs as well as opportunities to attend career-related conventions, conferences, or workshops. The AHIMA and AAPC, for example, offer such resources for health information technicians in addition to their certification programs.
Step 5: Stay Current
Credentialed insurance billers are often required to maintain certification by completing continuing education. You can typically find continuing education programs through the trade associations that provide certification. In addition to meeting recertification requirements, continuing education courses provide you with updates on industry information and legislative measures that may have an important impact on your daily work responsibilities.
What Are Some Similar Careers?
Medical coders act as a bridge between health clinics and billing offices, assigning the appropriate procedure codes and diagnoses for patient care, population health statistics, and billing purposes based on patient information. Cancer registrars review cancer patients' records and reports for accuracy and completeness, keeping local and national databases on cancer patient information organized and up to date.