Frequently Asked Questions about Medical Coding
What does a medical coder do?
Medical Coders work for insurance companies and heath care organizations. Every time a healthcare provider renders services to a patient (this is called an encounter) a claim is filed to the patient's insurance provider. For all the types of encounters, there exists a specific code for each. these codes tells the payer what was wrong with the patient and what services were performed. The job of the medical coder then is to take bills submited to the insurance company and translate them into the appropriate codes. This may seem easy, but there are a lot of codes and procedures to learn, along with basic medical terminology.
How much money do medical coders make?
This will range depending on your experience and the nature of work you are doing. A medical coder can make upwards of $40,000 working from home as an independent contractor after a few years of experience, while coders running their own coding firm can earn over $100,000 a year. There are many cases of these happening.
What kind of equipment is needed to get started as a medical coder?
You should own a PC and be familiar with operating it. The necessary textbooks will be covered in any good coding course.
What kind of education is required to become a coder?
Much like medical transcription and medical billing, you will need to learn a great deal of codes and procedures to be able to handle a job. There is also basic medical terminology, which is also often included in coding courses.
What kind of skills are needed to become a successful medical coder?
If you have past experience in data entry, computer or secretarial work, you probably already have most of the skills required. A brief summary of the skills required:
Do I need to become certified to get a job? Will it help my employment prospects?
No courses will be able to offer you certification. If a course provider claims otherwise, be cautious. The only place to be certified is through the National Healthcareer Association. While it may help your career in the long run, most places that hire coders will not require it.
What is the difference between medical coding and medical billing?
Medical billers work for medical practices, preparing bills for services rendered. These bills or invoices are then sent to insurance companies. Coders on the other hand, work for the insurance companies, taking bills submited to the insurance company and translating them into the appropriate codes. They are similar professions and both require medical terminology.
What is medical transcription?
A medical transcriptionist has a very important role in the medical practice. As an MT, you take a doctors audio dictation (usually on tape) and transcribe it into a professional medical record. These records include patient history, physical reports, office notes, operative reports, discharge summaries, evaluations and pathology reports. While this sounds fairly simple, you are required to learn a great deal of material before being able to work as an MT. More information can be found at Medical-Transcription-Courses.com.
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