Are you planning to pursue a career as a medical biller? Medical billing can both be challenging and rewarding. As a medical biller, you will be submitting medical claims to insurance companies and payers such as Medicare and Medicaid. Medical billing is critical for the financial cycle of all health care providers. In addition, medical billers ensure that they send out accurate billing to customers before sending them to insurance companies.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment as a medical biller is projected to grow by 9 percent from 2020 to 2030. Within that period about 34,000 openings for medical billers are projected annually. However, every medical biller should possess certain skills to become successful. Let’s check out the skills you need to possess to become a successful medical biller.
Skills Of A Medical Biller
- Communication Skills
- Organizational Skills
- Technical Skills
- Customer Service Skills
- Problem Solving & Analytical Skills
- Attention To Details
Should I Pursue A Career In Medical Billing?
- Think About Your Strengths
- Consider Your Interests
- Visualize The Kind of Career You Want
Skills of a Medical Biller
Being a medical biller is not an easy job. In order to become successful, you need to have certain skills. A potential employer will hire you for possessing the knowledge and the skills for becoming successful as a medical biller. Here are the skills that you need to possess to attain success in the medical billing field.
1. Communication Skills
As a medical biller, you will be coordinating with medical staff, insurance companies, and patients. For this reason, you need to communicate with them effectively to get the information you need. In addition, you will be handling payments and resolving disputes either face-to-face, over the phone, or by email.
There is a notion that medical billers work behind closed doors but this isn’t the case. They will be interacting with various individuals. Medical billers will be having difficult conversations during the day. For instance, if a claim will not be processed or partially processed, the patient may become frustrated. As such, medical billers need to be patient and courteous with patients.
Medical billers act as a “bridge” between the insurance company, healthcare provider, and patient. Medical billing can be complex and confusing so patience and courtesy in communication are vital to your success as a medical biller. Lastly, good communication skills will help you keep up with the ever-changing medical billing and coding guidelines.
Medical billers require patience when working with patients, insurance companies, and medical staff. You need to be patient when following up on insurance claims and appeals, which can be a frustrating experience. Patience will also help you maintain a level head and get the job done efficiently. Insurance authorizations will also require patience as it can be time-consuming. You need to stay calm and focus on the task at hand.
Patients have their own frustrations so you need to bear with them when they file a claim. Not all the patients you will deal with are the same. There will be times when the conversation will be difficult so you need to be patient with them. You need to help them get through the process of completing their claim.
The job of medical billing is not for the faint of heart. There are days when the boundaries of your patience will be tested. But to be successful as a medical biller, you need to pass this test of patience and see the patient through the medical billing process.
3. Organizational Skills
Medical billers need to be organized to help them keep track of medical records, invoices, and insurance information. You will be able to organize your physical documents to be able to manage, prioritize, and plan your workday. In addition, you will be able to optimize your results and excel at your job.
With good organizational skills, you will be able to stay on top of your work and meet deadlines. This will allow you to effectively file electronic medical records and understand medical coding. Your organizational skills will allow you to handle sensitive data such as patient accounts, insurance information, codes, or treatment records more effectively. Staying organized could mean the difference between getting paid on time and not getting paid at all.
A good organizational skill will help you with structuring, integrating, and coordinating goals. Without organizational skills, it will be difficult for you to memorize the medical billing codes. It will allow you to easily and quickly pull out the necessary information you need for processing the claim. Finally, your organizational skills will save you lots of time and energy.
4. Technical Skills
With the move to electronic billing, having great technical skills will allow you to be effective in your role as a medical biller. You need to be familiar with medical billing programs as well as understand both hospital and institutional coding and billing. In addition, medical billers need to have a fundamental understanding of accounting principles, word processing and spreadsheet applications,
Medical billers should at least be computer proficient. Moreover, you should be able to use email and basic Internet. Knowledge of basic office software and how to input medical codes into the system will come in handy in your role as a medical biller. Since you will spend most of your time inputting data into a computer system, it will also help if you have data entry skills.
But data entry isn’t the only technical skill you should possess. You should also have knowledge of medical terminologies, diagnoses, and procedures. Some doctors might require a certain type of test for various symptoms and conditions. If you can’t explain it to them, this is where having great research skills will prove vital.
5. Customer Service Skills
As a medical biller, you will work and communicate directly with patients, medical office staff, and insurance companies. This is where having excellent customer service skills can come in handy. An understanding of what it takes to provide excellent customer service can contribute to making the medical billing process flow more smoothly.
With medical billing, the bottom line is health care management, which can be an emotional topic for some people. Good customer service in medical billing means speaking diplomatically, compassionately, and accurately to answer questions. Great customer service starts with taking a patient-centric perspective.
Patients expect treatment and they also demand care. Customer service skills mean showing patients that you care about their individual needs, situation, and well-being. To be successful with customer service as a medical biller, you need to embrace your role and responsibility. Remember that patients will not come to you if they are feeling well, so do treat them well.
6. Problem-Solving & Analytical Skills
As a medical biller, your work requires critical thinking and problem-solving skills. You will analyze medical records and determine the correct codes for each diagnosis and procedure. This could prove challenging as multiple codes could be applicable to a single medical record. In most cases, you need to decide on which code is the most accurate.
Your problem-solving skills will also come in handy in resolving issues that will arise during the billing and coding process. You can use it in trying to find out why a particular insurance company is denying a claim. You will need to be “good with puzzles” as a medical biller because medical billing can sometimes be like working with puzzles.
In addition, you also need to have analytical skills. If a claim is returned to a provider or rejected by an insurance company, it will not always have an explicit explanation as to why the claim was not processed as requested. As a medical biller, you may need to troubleshoot the problem based on the information you have or make a conclusion based on past experience.
The role of a medical biller requires you to work independently and take initiative. Let’s say that a claim that you submitted was rejected, you cannot ask the doctor to stop seeing patients to ask what needs to be done. In fact, the doctor will rely on you to take action and work independently as possible.
However, it does not mean that you need to check in with your supervisor or have free reign with whatever you want, that’s definitely not the case. As a medical biller, you need to keep your workflow constantly moving. You need to keep in mind that most healthcare facilities are incredibly busy and you need drive and determination to stay on task independently.
Medical billers work more autonomously by facilitating communication between the several parties necessary to smooth the billing process. Around 60% of the time you will be working around a flexible schedule.
Your ability to multitask will come in handy in a medical biller role. You will be juggling from one claim to another while keeping tabs on how claims are working through the system. Additionally, you will be responsible for handling other administrative tasks within your office and may also act as a medical assistant in your practice. You will answer the phone, send emails, manage bookkeeping and billing, process insurance claims, and others.
Your multitasking skills involve knowing how to prioritize. As a medical biller, you should know how to identify which tasks need to be completed the fastest and which ones will take the longest amount of time. Juggling from one task to another requires self-discipline. It can be easy to get distracted and you could easily lose focus and might be pulled from the important tasks to less important tasks.
To perform efficiently, you need to be self-motivated. You need to maximize your time and be as productive as possible. Your self-motivation will help you devise ways to become productive and streamline your daily tasks. Finally, you need to have the enthusiasm to be effective as a multitasker.
9. Attention To Detail
Medical billers deal with a lot of paperwork and medical records and it is easy to make mistakes. For this reason, you need to have excellent attention to detail. You need to be accurate and precise with claims payment. You will be reviewing medical charts and documentation to ensure the correct information before submitting the claim.
As a medical biller, you will be recording payments and issuing bills. If there are discrepancies, you will need to follow up with the insurance company to correct the issue. In addition, you need to be knowledgeable about the procedures in claims processing to ensure timely and accurate payments for services. Any delays could result in delays in processing as well as late payments to the insurance company.
While it is impossible for you to memorize every billing code, your attention to detail will help you find commonly used codes for their practice. Your keen attention to detail can make a huge difference in ensuring the smooth flow of the billing process. You don’t want to assign the wrong procedure code to the claim.
If you are part of a team of medical billers, you need to be depended upon by the healthcare provider. You would want to make sure that the healthcare provider is paid for the services they provide as well as ensure cash flow. A recent survey revealed that 64% of billing & coding specialists can reduce payment delays and obtain maximum reimbursement from insurers.
Being consistent and reliable is critical to your role as a medical biller. Being dependable means that you demonstrate responsible behaviors at work. The health and lives of patients are on the line so it is important for the healthcare provider to know that they can depend on you. You need to be a team player and ensure that all claims are processed correctly.
A recent study by the National Healthcare Association identified dependability as one of the three critical soft skills for medical billers. You may be knowledgeable in the field but if you cannot put in the work and give each area the attention it needs, you will not become successful as a medical biller.
Should I Pursue A Career In Medical Billing?
Now that you know the skills that medical billers need to possess, perhaps the next thing you want to ponder about is should you pursue a medical billing career? Here is a guide to help decide whether a medical billing career is right for you.
1. Think about your strengths
Do you have keen attention to detail? Are you capable of active listening? Can you work well under pressure? Are you able to exhibit a high level of autonomy? Do you have strong analytical skills for analyzing health records and verifying the accuracy of patient health information? If your answer to each question is “yes,” then medical billing can be a good career option.
2. Consider your interests
As a medical biller, you will be tasked to organize healthcare data and track patient outcomes. One of your jobs is to comply with HIPAA and patient confidentiality laws and demonstrate ethical behavior. You will be working independently and paying close attention to details. As a medical biller, you need to be organized. If this is something that interests you, a medical billing career is right for you.
3. Visualize the kind of career you want
Medical billers spend most of their time updating medical records and tracking patient outcomes. You will most likely work second and third shifts. Being a medical biller is a stressful career. With the right balance of organization and time management, you can achieve productivity. A medical billing career can be lucrative and rewarding.
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