The healthcare industry is expanding fast. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 14% growth by 2028, topping many industries. As a consequence of increasing health needs, the physicians, hospital administrators, and others who manage the business side of the industry will have to juggle a greater number of tasks and procedures.

These professionals rely more and more on medical billing and coding specialists to take care of organizing and running the billing process, whether as individuals or part of a billing company. The outlook is bright for medical billing partnerships, as well as for individuals looking toward a career in the field. What does medical billing and coding entail, and what does it look like as a career?

Coders Translate

Medical billing as a process functions best using a system of standards. The following is a simplified description. As the intended ideal, the system breaks down anecdotal particulars into a set of codes. These codes are preset to act as medical descriptors and are organized into categories and subcategories.

When someone goes to a medical facility for any health reason, the medical details of that visit — from the ailment to the physician’s diagnosis to any resulting procedures or medications — are described and itemized, at which point a coding specialist assigns numbers, or number-letter combinations, appropriately. These units, or codes, are used as a basis for communication, traveling a digital highway from medial facilities to insurance companies to billing specialists.

Billing Specialists Step In

Trained billing specialists must be detail-oriented, organized, and knowledgeable. This is because their job involves multiple steps for completing a task.

At a basic level, their job entails taking the patient-interaction codes sent from medical providers and piecing together a story, or claim, for the insurance company to examine. The insurance company makes a payout determination and notifies the billing specialist.

Next, billing specialists and the companies they work for really earn their reputation: They must be knowledgeable about the particular insurance plan coverage, including coinsurance, co-pays, and met deductibles. Any mistakes or misinterpretations can cause payment delays and negatively boomeranging patient health-care provider communication.

Industry-leading Fortis Medical Billing stipulates that a primary goal for skilled billing professionals should be to relieve medical practices with which they partner of the stress and complications of the billing process by staying grounded in medical law and compliance nuances.

Determine If This Is the Right Career

Medical billing specialist businesses look for employees who show particular traits and are enthusiastic about the particulars of the profession. Many facets of the job are appealing to certain personality types.

While the job does not require a medical degree, it is oriented in medicine, so applicants can take pride in practicing strict professionalism. Medicine record-keeping, reporting, and billing procedures have recently begun to migrate to digital platforms. As a consequence, coders and billing specialists work in technologically advanced environments that require a continual willingness to learn and face ongoing challenges.

Also, because of this shift, opportunities to work remotely should increase, an appealing prospect for some. Opportunities in general should be abundant. Consider that the field of medicine encompasses many areas, each of which is interconnected to other strands, all requiring billing and coding expertise. Even if someone would choose not to work remotely, options proliferate to choose from among many specialties and among job offerings across the U.S.

When patients visit medical care providers, they may not be aware that the medical billing and coding process grinds behind the scene, ending in the explanation of a benefits statement. It is a complex process. In the ideal scenario, those entrusted with performing the key tasks are skilled and professional such that the machinery hums smoothly.