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Training for a Career in Medical Billing

To enter a medical billing or coding career, you must obtain training or a formal education at a college or university. If you choose formal education, you can earn three different degrees in medical coding or medical billing: certificate, associate’s degree, and bachelor’s degree. Earning the degree can take anywhere from one to four years depending on how much education you want to complete and oftentimes the class schedule is flexible enough that you can complete school even while working fulltime.

To enter a medical billing or coding program you must have a high school diploma or a general education development (GED) certificate. Other requirements for entry may apply depending on the college or university you apply to. Once you are accepted into a school, here are some of the subjects you can expect to study while earning your degree.

Processing Paper Claims

The key to getting paid quickly is learning how to efficiently process insurance invoices and understanding how HMOs (health management organizations) and PPOs (preferred provider organizations) work. In this class you will learn how to read and process medical invoices. Typically you will receive hands-on experience processing invoices, sending out bills, posting payments to accounts, and generating relevant reports; all the things you need to know to help doctors get paid by insurance companies.

Health Insurance Policies

There are a number of different insurance policies out there, and you will need to know about all of them to do your job effectively. This class will teach you how to process and submit claims to Medicaid, Medicare, group health insurance, worker’s compensation, and other types of insurance.


Filling Out Form CMS 1500

This is a specific type of form frequently used in the medical billing and coding industry. This class will teach you how to fill it out correctly, about mistakes that are commonly made on this form, and what you need to do to fix the errors and get paid.

Medical Billing Office Management

Whether it is a temporary assignment or a permanent promotion, at some point you will be required to manage a medical billing office. This course will provide you with a basic training on some of the things you can expect to be responsible for as the supervisor or manager. These duties include verifying insurance cards, managing schedules (patient and employee), calculating deductibles and co-payments, and other daily tasks associated with managing an office. This class may also provide training in medical terminology which will help you decipher patient’s medical charts.

Understanding Medical Procedure Codes

Coding is a major part of working in medical coding and billing. You will likely be required to take classes that teach you about the current procedural technology (CPT) and International Classification of Disease Coding (ICD) codes. Knowing what these codes are and how to properly use them is required to do your job.

Submitting and Processing Insurance Claims

Another essential part of your medical billing and coding job is processing insurance claims. This class will show you how to create and submit claims, post payments received, calculate deductibles, and how to fill out and submit electronic and paper insurance claims.

Software Used in Medical Billing

Typically, you will work with several different programs to do your work. Your studies will include classes that focus on how to use these programs such as entering and accessing patient records in medical databases, creating reports, and entering various transactions into the appropriate systems.

Worker’s Comp Insurance

Worker’s compensation is a major insurance provider that pays for medical expenses related to accidents that occur on the job. Classes will typically teach you about the insurance, the types of medical claims involved, how to complete the CMS 1500 form for federal workers, recognizing abuse and fraud, and handling appeals.

These are the types of classes you can expect to take during your training as a medical coder and biller. Work hard and you’ll receive the education you need to secure personally and financially satisfying work.