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How do you like your job as a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist?

by tom44 on December 24, 2013

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Question by dollface: How do you like your job as a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist?
*Whats the best part and what is the worst?
*On average how much do Medical Billing and Coding Specialist get paid?
*How difficult is the schooling on a scale from 1-10?
*How much math does it require?
thanks! from houston texas!

Best answer:

Answer by redhed
The best part is getting the doctors paid for the services they have provided and patients approved for the services they need. The worst part is dealing with nasty insurance companies and some doctors don’t appreciate what you do and pay you low wages. Also dealing with co-workers who don’t really care is tough–this is a job to them, not a career.

Here is California new grads are getting as low as $ 10 to 12 an hour, which isn’t much but with the economy some offices are getting 300 resumes for each job they post on With experience one can start anywhere from $ 15 to 18 per hour up to $ 22 an hour or so for a medical biller. A Certified Professional Coder can earn $ 30 or $ 35 per hour and the demand is very high.

VIrtually all my students pass the course with regard to academics and attendance. However, increasingly I am sorry to have to say that I would not hire most of them. I have learned there are two things I cannot teach–attitude and common sense. Unfortunately a lot of the students coming in right now are going into the program because they want a job, not because they really want a career in the field of billing and coding. They lack the proper attitude of service needed to make me want to ever hire them.

My experience has been that most students are most worried about the medical terminology. So I have a question for you? Did you learn how to speak your first language in one day? Of course not. So then you understand that it is completely unrealistic to think you will learn medical terminology in one day.

See when kids learn to read we all rejoice as they learn to read their first words, as well we should. They are happy however don’t realize that there are hundreds, thousands of more words out there for them to learn. However, as adults we tend to look at the book and get overwhelmed. How am I going to learn all of this?!

You will learn terminology the same way you learned your first language, day by day, bit by bit. Practice and use your flash cards!

Overall the billing part is not horribly difficult. The most challenging thing is coding. I have a lot of students come in wanting to become a coder because there is good money to be made. By the end of the course most of them don’t want to be coders. Know that not many students naturally have the aptitude to be a good coder. Doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be able to do it just that you might have to work harder. There is not enough money in the world that would make be want to be a coder. I don’t have the gift–I have had a few students who could code circles around me, plus I don’t want the stress as insurance companies, especially Medicare, are really cracking down on coding insurance claims. They want to make sure that the documentation in the patient’s chart supports the codes being used. If not they ding the doctor and/or hospital.

So schooling breakdown:

Medical Terminology–not bad perhaps a 5 or 6 as long as you keep practicing.
Insurance Basics perhaps about the same maybe a little easier.
Basic Coding perhaps a 6 or so and my students all pass.
Advanced coding if you have the aptitude is about a 7.
If you don’t have the aptitude can be an 8 or 9.

The course may be a six or seven overall. Hard to say as I’ve been doing it so long.

The math is not too bad. You will need to do addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Usually the insurance company will send you a report called an remittance advice or explanation of benefits that tells how much the patient pays, how much they are paying you and what you have to write off for each service. It can get a bit technical as they usually pay several claims with one check.

School wise your least expensive options would be your local junior college, adult school or ROP program. The private schools are the most expensive but some students are able to get through those programs if they struggle with the other schools.

Before you start any training program I recommend you check with local employers to find out which programs they like. Some companies won’t hire graduates of certain schools. Also try to get a program that includes an externship.

As you go through the course, pay special attention to any the front office tasks they cover such as answering phones, taking messages, scheduling etc. A lot of my students when they graduated got an entry level job working the front office as they already knew the insurance stuff. Go in there, get paid for learning and if you are good you will usually be able to move up. If you go in like the job is beneath you I doubt you will get very far.

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