A medical biller, commonly referred to as a health information technician, plays a key role in the administration of an oftentimes complicated healthcare industry, serving as an important liaison between physicians and insurance companies to successfully process the wide variety of services rendered to patients.
Medical billers work primarily in physician's offices or hospitals, but they are also employed in other locations, such as:
Independently, sometimes even as consultants
Medical billers are typically multi-talented in a variety of the necessary functions that make them an invaluable resource in the industry — projecting effective organizational and communications/customer service skills while also being very task-oriented and efficient in mathematics and computer software programs.
They ensure the quality, accuracy, accessibility and security from both paper filing and electronic systems by using classifications to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes and for necessary databases and registries. They also maintain the medical histories, symptoms, examination results and treatments of patients.
A thorough knowledge of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, plus the details of specific state regulations and/or major health insurance plans like Medicare and Medicaid, enables medical billers to excel in their chosen office environments.
Medical Billing Job Education Requirements
A career in medical billing is available to anyone with a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) certificate. Additional courses are available to obtain an official certification (such as Registered Health Information Technician) through accredited organizations, which are typically preferred by employers. Additionally, a career assessment and/or aptitude test may be required to see if a medical billing career is a proper fit for any interested individual.
Medical Billing Job Market
Health information technicians filled about 186,000 jobs in 2012. Employment of all health information technicians, such as Medical Billing Coding Specialist and Imaging Service Engineer, are projected to grow 22 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is considerably faster than the average for all occupations.
The reason for this growth is due to the increased demand for health services, which is expected to rise as the population ages — thus increasing the demand for medical billers.
An aging population will likely need more medical tests, treatments and procedures, meaning more claims will need to be filed for reimbursement from insurance companies. This puts medical billers at the forefront of organizing and optimizing the workflow of the entire healthcare industry.
Medical Billing Job Salary Information
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income for health information technicians was $34,160 in May 2012 — with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $22,250 and the top 10 percent earning more than $56,200.