I am starting a new series of blog posts covering work at home jobs in the health care industry. There are a ton of those and it’s something I’ve never really touched on before. Once a week I will cover a different opportunity. Today’s post covers something many people do from home — medical billing.
Beware of Misleading Information
The first thing you should know about the work from home medical billing “opportunities” you might find online is that many of these are not actually jobs, but rather someone trying to sell you information on how to start your own medical billing business. This is misleading because the advertisements will make it sound as though you are in fact going to work for someone or a company rather than just paying for information that may or may not even help you. With that said, you can get paid to do medical billing from home, but it’s not nearly as easy to get started as many scammers would have you believe.
What is medical billing exactly?
It involves billing insurance companies for healthcare services provided, billing patients, sending claims to insurance companies, and appealing claims denials among other things. To do the job, you’ll need to have an understanding of medical terminology, human anatomy, and the medical coding system. You will need to know how to type and customer service skills are also important because chances are good you’ll be on the phone frequently with doctor’s offices, insurance companies, etc. once you start working.
How much do medical billers make?
According to Salary.com, most medical billers make around $33,000 per year.
Do you need training?
You do need some training to get started and while there are several schools you can use for the training, it’s best if you stick with one that is accredited. Many vocational schools do offer medical billing courses which can take as little as nine months or as long as two years to complete, and some of these also offer help with job placement just out of school. You will not be able to find a business that will hire you for medical billing unless you have either had some schooling or past work experience.
Where can you go for training?
It might not be a bad idea to check around in your local area for a college or tech/vocational school with a medical billing program. These schools may additionally have options for you to complete your courses online or mostly online. You can also find independent programs you can enroll in online, but you need to be careful with these. In doing my research, I found this article on About.com to be extremely helpful regarding this. It tells you what to avoid when searching for medical billing online courses.
Is medical billing 100 percent home-based?
What you will find when you begin looking for medical billing jobs from home is that most doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and insurance companies that hire medical billers do not offer a work from home option to start. In most cases you will not be able to work from home until you’ve worked onsite for a certain period of time. If you prove yourself working onsite, you may then be given permission to do the work from home.
If you are getting into medical billing primarily because you want a work from home career, keep in mind that there are some companies out there that may never be willing to let you work from home. You will need to check and make sure that the potential to work from home at some point is there before agreeing to employment if that is important to you.
Starting Your Own Medical Billing Business
Many work from home medical billers do run their own businesses. You can either attempt to dive right into this after getting the schooling you need, or you can take time to work under someone else first before trying to go it alone. As with any home business, there will be some start up expenses. These will include home office equipment, a business license, medical billing software, reference books, and more. However, medical billing is something that there will likely always be a need for since health care is always in demand, so if you go about things the right away, you may be able to do well with your home business.
Want to dig deeper into this? Here are some great resources I found online:
- About.com has a wealth of information regarding medical billing as a home-based job in their guide
- Great article posted at WAHM.com about finding legit medical billing jobs from home
- The Bureau of Consumer Protection has some excellent information in this article about how to protect yourself from medical billing scams
Do you have some knowledge or experience in this field? Please share!