Pursuing a career in medical billing and coding

posted on Wednesday, Feb 22 2012

For individuals who want to pursue a new career in healthcare, the choice of what to study can be overwhelming. Students considering enrolling in an online bachelors degree program in healthcare may have heard about medical billing and coding, but what does it involve?

Medical billing and coding is one of the fastest-growing areas in the healthcare industry. Professionals who work as coders and billing specialists handle the processing of claims information. When a hospital provides treatment to a patient, it is up to the medical coding and billing personnel to follow up with insurance companies to ensure that the hospital is paid for rendering those services.

Enrolling in a medical billing degree program at an online college is the first step to becoming a billing and coding professional. Some academic institutions offer separate online degree programs in coding and billing, and others combine the two disciplines into a single qualification.

Although the curricula will differ from one online college to another, students can expect to learn some common fundamentals in this important healthcare role. Individuals enrolled in online bachelors degree programs in medical billing and coding will also be taught the basics of how insurance claims work, as well as regulatory guidelines and compliance issues. This can involve patient registration and check-in procedures, computerized record keeping and patient discharge.

An important part of this kind of online bachelors degree program is Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding. This system of classifications enables medical billing and coding professionals to assign the correct categorization of a patient’s treatment options to their file for later processing with insurance companies.

Individuals studying this type of program at an online college can also expect to learn about the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS). The HCPCS is a set of standardized codes established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to identify common ailments and treatment options provided by physicians. Medical billing and coding professionals use the HCPCS to make sure that claims information is accurate, and that hospitals do not overcharge insurance providers for services rendered to patients.

Many online colleges offer this kind of online bachelors degree program, and the need for skilled coding and billing professionals has never been higher. Individuals who want to take control of their development and learn new skills that will prepare them for an exciting new career can enroll at an online college to take their first steps toward becoming a qualified medical coding and billing specialist.

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