The increased demand for healthcare workers has been well documented over the last few years. Healthcare will add about 2.6 million new jobs by 2030. Employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 16% from 2020 to 2030. This growth is due to our aging population, leading to greater demand for healthcare services.
But the pandemic has also driven many administrative workers to home-based jobs. And now that they’ve gotten used to the work-from-home arrangement, they want to stay there. Healthcare is inherently an on-site workplace. So how can medical practices remain competitive in employment when their administrative employee pool wants to work from home?
Certain medical administrative positions, like medical billing, are transitioning to a remote environment. These positions are very popular and can be challenging to find. As with many new opportunities, there are those who are trying to take advantage of the situation to scam unsuspecting people. Beware of job opportunities that are just too good to be true. For your information, let’s talk about the standard job description and qualifications for a remote medical biller.
What is Medical Billing?
Medical billers handle insurance and patient claims, so healthcare professionals are paid for their services. Some practices may also ask medical billers to handle medical coding, which is the practice of coding a patient claim with the appropriate industry codes referring to diagnosis, treatments, and procedures. These functions are critical to completing any healthcare practice’s revenue cycle.
The Medical Billing Process
The medical billing process can take a few days to several months, depending on the complexity of the medical treatments rendered and how a medical practice collects payment. Therefore, medical billers must understand their individual employer’s medical billing process to maintain a seamless revenue cycle and successfully recoup reimbursement for healthcare delivery.
Medical billing begins when a patient registers and schedules an appointment. During the front-end medical billing process, staff collects the patient’s insurance information and informs patients of any costs they are responsible for. Ideally, the office collects any copayments from the patient at the appointment. After the appointment, medical coders obtain the treatment records and apply the billable codes.
Then, back-end medical billers use the codes and patient information to create a claim and send it to payers. Under HIPAA, billers must submit Medicare Part A and B claims electronically, but historically other payers’ claims were submitted and paid manually. The increase in remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic has made it necessary for healthcare providers and payers to implement electronic claims and payment systems, which have increased by 2.3% in both the medical and dental industries in 2020. This is a significant cost saving for many medical practices, which indicates that more electronic billing may be implemented in the near future, opening up more remote billing opportunities.
The final phase of medical billing is patient collections. Medical billers collect payments from patients and send them to their employer’s accounts receivables department, where payments are tracked and deposited.
Remote Medical Billing Job Market
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not catalog the position of medical billing separately. Instead, the jobs are included under the medical specialty of an administrative assistant. The national job outlook for medical administrative assistants is positive, with a projected increase in employment of 11% between 2020 and 2030.
As of May 2022, ZipRecruiter reports the average annual salary for a remote medical coder in Arizona is $53,102 a year. We can assume the salary would be about the same for a biller. The majority of salaries currently range between $41,811 to $72,937 annually in Arizona. This information could mean there may soon be increased opportunities for advancement and pay based on a biller’s experience and skill.
Qualifications for Remote Medical Billing Positions
Technically, there is no specific degree required to be a medical biller. However, there is applicable training that would make job searchers more marketable. Many colleges and vocational schools offer medical billing programs that can take ten weeks to two years to complete.
The American Association of Professional Coders is the world’s largest training and credentialing organization for the business of healthcare. They offer online medical billing and coding courses and a certification preparedness program. These courses provide the most up-to-date information on the health insurance industry and medical reimbursement methodologies. The course is designed to be completed in 4 months, with an additional two-month grace period. Successful completion will prepare a student to sit for the Certified Professional Biller certification exam.
The American Medical Billing Association also sponsors several medical billing courses. These online courses are designed to educate students on starting and running a medical billing business in a healthcare setting. It begins with basics such as getting started, marketing, and working with providers. As students progress, they will learn more detailed and specific information on the day-to-day intricacies of billing for a medical practice.
The Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist credential is offered through the American Medical Billing Association. The purpose of this certification is to promote ethical and professional medical billing. This voluntary certification recognizes a medical biller’s ability and competency, supports continued professional development, and provides national standards for billers based on industry data.
Scams in Remote Medical Billing Recruiting
As we mentioned, there are those trying to take advantage of people wanting to learn and work in remote medical billing. Please remember that if the opportunity seems too good to be true, it probably is. Here are some scams to look for.
One kind of scam is for quick medical billing training. These scams guarantee fast certification and the ability to get a high-paying job. It is not possible to be qualified for a medical billing job in a month. The billing processes are complex and technical, requiring many months of study.
If you decide to further your medical billing knowledge, sign up for accredited programs, such as those discussed above.
The second type of scam is recruiters or job ads that promise high salaries for no experience or assistance in starting your own home business. They may offer training, software, and networking support but no salary. There is no guarantee that you will make money or that your business will succeed.
If you are interested in learning more about remote medical billing careers, here are some other blogs we’ve written on the subject:
There are legitimate remote medical billing jobs available. It’s best to trust an established and reputable medical recruiter like Desert Medical Careers. Working with an agency with long-term relationships with healthcare employers is the safest way to find the best jobs available. With over 25 years of experience placing healthcare employees, we are experts at matching healthcare workers with their ideal working environment.