What to Know Before Starting a Medical Billing Certification Program
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Before you start any educational program, it’s smart to learn as much as you can about it. After all, if you're going to be spending your time and money on it, you want to make sure it's time well spent and a field you'll enjoy.
So, here’s a few things to know before starting a medical billing certification program:
What is Medical Billing?
Medical billing is an important part of the healthcare industry. The main purpose of medical billing is to submit insurance claims to healthcare companies for services like patient exams, labs, or x-rays, for example. A medical biller saves patients time so they don’t have to submit claims on their own.
Just as important, a medical biller ensures medical and healthcare facilities receive reimbursement for services.
You can find work as just a medical biller, but medical billing and coding are often wrapped up into one program. Both fields are great options for employment opportunities as the industry is expected to grow by 13% between now and 2026.
Training is Needed
Whether you receive on-the-job training or get certified, a medical biller needs specific knowledge to perform the job correctly. While there are no federal or state requirements for certification, most providers prefer an experienced and certified medical biller/coder.
When you get certified, you’ll learn specifics on:
Completing and processing claim forms
Billing insurance companies
Proper medical terminology
When you walk into a new medical billing position with certification in hand, you'll feel more confident knowing the skills necessary to perform the job, like understanding HCPCS codes. This is especially true if you are just starting out in the industry and plan to advance your career.
Studying is Required
Even if you don’t get certified, but still plan for a job in the medical billing field, you’ll need to do some studying to learn guidelines, laws, and more.
Why not go ahead and get certified for knowledge you’ll need to know anyways?
Plus, the certifications are nationally recognized by employers. A reputable program will offer plenty of study guides and resources to help you pass the medical billing exam. The 2-hour Medical Coder & Biller Certification (MCBC) exam is 100 questions, so you’ll want to be well prepared. After you take the exam, your results will be posted online within two days.
What is the Medical Billing Certification Cost?
It depends on your program. On-campus programs tend to cost more — upward of $3,000 for some schools — and often combine medical billing and coding. Online schools can cost right around $2,000 or so. Details vary per program, and sometimes includes the cost of the national exam as well. Payment plans and financial aid are usually available, so check with an admissions counselor.
What’s the Next Step for a Medical Billing Certification?
You’ll want to figure out if you prefer online classes or on-campus classes first. Then, start researching medical billing certification programs. When searching, you’ll want to consider the cost, program reputation (read reviews!), and accessibility.
If you’re open to learning technical skills and like being detail-oriented, medical billing is a great profession to consider. Most healthcare settings like to hire certified individuals, and by completing your certification, you’ll be a step ahead of other applicants for most jobs.