The U.S. healthcare system depends on accurate communication between patients, the medical professionals that provide care, clinics, hospitals, and health maintenance organizations (commonly called HMOs). To ensure that medical bills represent the care patients actually receive, the system relies upon medical billers to accurately interpret and convey this complex data.
A medical biller must have the skills to handle all the paperwork that is involved in patient records from clinical settings like hospitals, nursing homes, or hospice care. These individuals work closely with the insurance companies to process bills. They’re also responsible for making sure that healthcare providers are properly compensated for all services rendered.
Students in medical billing schools learn the process of entering patient information into databases, as well as medical terminology, pathology, anatomy, basic pharmacology, medical ethics and laws, and the financial practices of hospitals and insurance companies. Working with medical coders, you’ll need to use ICD-9, ICD-10, CPT, and HCPCS guidelines to record and share this information.
Medical Billing is Not the Same as Medical Coding
Before you commit to any certification programs, it is essential that you understand the difference between these different, but related, healthcare roles. This resource is designed primarily for those interested in medical billing courses online.
In hospitals, clinics, and healthcare organizations, the tasks assigned to medical billers and coders may be shared between two colleagues who work closely together, or they may be performed by a single person with extensive knowledge of both fields.
Understand the difference between different types of insurance plans
Apply payer policy, Local Coverage Determinations (LCD,) and National Coverage Determinations (NCD) for the successful submission of claims
Know CPT, ICD-9-CM, and HCPCS coding guidelines
Understand and navigate the many rules and regulations that apply to the healthcare industry, including HIPAA, the False Claims Act, the Stark law, and the Fair Debt Collections Act
Know the life cycle of a medical billing claim
Follow up on claims and denials issued by insurance companies
Become a CPB by Taking the AAPC Examination
The AAPC offers a professional certification that recognizes competence in medical billing. The CPB exam will ask you questions regarding the correct application of CPT, HCPCS procedure and supply codes, and ICD-9 diagnosis codes used for billing insurance programs for services. The test consists of 200 multiple-choice questions administered over five hours and 40 minutes. As this is an open-book test, you can use your manual to look up codes.
Prepare for the CPB exam
Just because the test is open-book doesn’t mean you don’t have to prepare. The following online medical billing classes will help you start your training. Explore the course descriptions of the following seven courses designed to help you study for your billing certificate and jump-start your career:
This introductory medical billing and coding course offers an overview of how the medical claims system works and introduces you to important ideas in the field like Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS), and common practices of insurance providers.
The medical billing process requires communication between healthcare providers and insurance companies (often called payers). Begin your studies with the fundamentals of the medical billing process. Familiarize yourself with the end-to-end operations of medical billing and coding in a number of workplaces, including smaller offices where one individual may perform all the duties of medical billing and coding.
Medical billing is a technical field that requires accuracy when working with providers and payers. Use this glossary of frequently used billing terms to familiarize yourself with the language a medical biller uses every day.
Medical billers are responsible for performing their work according to various standards and regulations, including compliance with the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Learn these regulations in order to remain in compliance as a medical biller.
Medical billers use a variety of forms and software to complete the insurance claims process. This class provides an overview of all the forms you’ll use on the job. You’ll also see how bills are processed online through an electronic clearinghouse.
Medical billers must have an understanding the difference between various types of insurance providers (like government, commercial, and Blue Cross providers) and know how to process claims for these insurers.
This course focuses on describing the medical claims process. It also includes an introduction of Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS), managed care plans, and public insurance.
This course focuses on describing the medical billing process and the duties of a medical insurance specialist. This course also provides an overview of patient management starting with scheduling an appointment to collecting payments for the healthcare services.
This course focuses on an overview of the Healthcare Reform Act of 2010 along with guidelines for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Office of Inspector General (OIG) compliance.
This course focuses on describing all the medical billing errors along with the ways to catch and correct these errors early. This course also highlights the differences between a denied and a rejected claim.
Allan Hancock College offers a Medical Billing Certification option under the Medical Assisting program. This nights-only program is only available by application, but it covers the details of billing and coding in the medical field. The program concludes in the certification exam offered through the National Healthcareer Association; this ensures compliance with national standards so graduates are prepared for employment anywhere in the country.
Brenham, TXMore Info
Blinn College has a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist Certificate program through the Information Management department. The program allows flexibility to 0 future plans. The curriculum is specifically designed for students seeking to enter the workforce immediately; graduates are competent in all of the skills and tools of the profession. However, the course-work easily transfers for credit in a degree program to suit students intended further study.
Blue Ridge Community and Technical College
Martinsburg, WVMore Info
Blue Ridge Community and Technical College offers a Medical Billing and Coding program. The 70 credit hours provides students with the skills in insurance forms and reimbursement, CPT and ICD-9 medical code systems, medical terminology, and coding for specialty fields. With this program and practical work experience of two years or less, graduates should qualify for any national professional certification exam for billing and coding specialists.
Redwood City, CAMore Info
Canada College offers an Associate in Science for the Medical Billing Specialist. The required classes for this comprehensive program includes medical billing competencies, but also general education, physical education, and ethnic studies. Alternatively, a certificate program is available for students preferring a shorter, more focused program. Essentially, the certificate program's curriculum consists entirely of the medical billing core requirements from the associate degree program. Therefore, students desiring fast entry into the workforce may opt for the certificate, then complete the degree program at a later time.
Central Arizona College
Coolidge, AZMore Info
Central Arizona College offers the Coding and Reimbursement Certificate for those interested in medical billing. Part of the Health Careers District program, the 34 credit hours in the curriculum also qualify for a Health Information Technology degree. Furthermore, all courses count as elective credits at North Arizona University for graduates seeking a four-year degree.
Coahoma Community College
Clarksdale, MSMore Info
Coahoma Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Medical Billing and Coding Technology for prospective students interested in medical billing. The comprehensive degree program takes two years to complete; basic academics and the career technology core round out the 74 credit hours comprising the program. This long program allows some flexibility for students; quality study options focus on accounting, behavioral sciences, and databases.
Coastal Carolina Community College
Jacksonville, NCMore Info
Coastal Carolina Community College has multiple options for medical billing. The Medical Billing and Coding Specialist program is designed specifically to ace the Certified Professional Coders exam given by the American Academy of Professional Coders. The understanding is that certification equates to 20% higher pay for employees. Both online and on-campus options exist, as well as day and evening and schedules.
College of Lake County
Grayslake, ILMore Info
College of Lake County has the Medical Billing Specialist Certificate plan. The certificate is part of the Health Information Technology program, so most of the course-work can be applied toward an associate degree in health information technology. The program elicited 100% passing students on the national certification exam.
Columbia Basin College
Pasco, WAMore Info
Columbia Basin College a Professional Technical Certificate for Medical Billing Clerk program. The curriculum consists of 12 courses related to the major; the rest of the classes fulfill the general education requirements of this well-rounded program. The entire program can be completed in only one year, facilitating quick entry into the workplace.
Community Care College
Tulsa, OKMore Info
Community Care College has a Medical Billing and Coding degree program. The Associate in Occupational Science degree program focuses on the computer interactions required by medical billing and coding technicians in the workplace. The classes recognize the importance of personalized instruction for students with experienced instructors. This college offers choices to accommodate various schedules and needs; the degree can be earned entirely online or on-campus, and qualifying students may obtain career assistance.
Dade Medical College-Hollywood
Hollywood, FLMore Info
Dade Medical College-Hollywood has the Associate of Science in Medical Billing and Coding degree program. The curriculum is mostly focused on workplace entry rather than merely passing a certification exam. The program's 1160 clock hours are usually completed in 18 months; 100 percent of students graduate on-time. Post-program job placement for graduates is also 100 percent.
Scottsville, KYMore Info
Daymar College-Scottsville has a program offering a Professional Technical Certificate for Medical Billing Clerk through the Administrative Office Technology department. The curriculum is designed for college-ready students; while 49 credit hours are devoted to the specialty, a minimum of 18 are for general education purposes, including typing proficiency. Upon completion, graduates are ready for immediate employment as medical billing clerks.
Ormond Beach, FLMore Info
Daytona College has both a degree program and diploma program for prospective medical billing technicians. The Medical Billing Technician diploma has courses integral to the Associate of Science in Medical Billing and Coding program, so students can enter the workforce immediately with the diploma while continuing their education toward associate level. The programs have the recognition of the National Healthcare Association, and graduates will qualify to take professional certification exams such as the Certified Billing and Coding Specialist, Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist, and the American Academy of Professional Coders' CPC-A certification.
Delaware County Community College
Media, PAMore Info
Delaware County Community College presents the Certificate of Competency in Medical Billing program. The curriculum is short at only two semesters, but provides the skills needed by medical billing technicians in any medical environment.
Fresno City College
Fresno, CAMore Info
Fresno City College offers an accelerated certificate program for medical billing. In merely eight months, students can acquire a Certificate of Completion in Medical Billing Assistance. The program is comprised of six months in the classroom, followed by an internship lasting two months. Although the curriculum is designed to move students into the workforce immediately, it compromises by allowing course credits to apply toward the institution's Associate of Science degree, even allowing transference to a four-year baccalaureate degree program. The entire program costs less than $2000, one of the best values.
East Hartford, CTMore Info
Goodwin College has a Medical Billing and Coding Certificate program of two semesters. The content of the program is designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge to advance in the field of medical billing and coding; graduates qualify to take the Certified Professional Coders exam through the American Academy of Professional Coders. Optionally, students may complete an internship for credit in the program.
Malta, ILMore Info
Kishwaukee College offers a Medical Billing and Coding Certificate program as part of the Office Systems program. The curriculum is oriented toward administrative assistants in medical settings whose duties often include billing and coding. The certificate program can be completed in 11 months. The program has a 73% rate of on-time completion by graduates; of those graduates, 47% placed in related employment.
Lord Fairfax Community College
Middletown, VAMore Info
Lord Fairfax Community College offers the Medical Billing and Coding Certificate program. The curriculum is intended for career-minded individuals, both those seeking first-time employment and those advancing their current careers as medical billing assistants, medical coders, or medical insurance specialists. The program can be completed in one year on the standard, full-time schedule of three to four classes each semester.
Los Angeles City College
Los Angeles, CAMore Info
Los Angeles City College offers a Basic Certificate of Completion in Basic Medical Billing program. The curriculum is intended for medical administrative assistants needing to handle billing; it introduces records management, medical billing, and insurance preparation in California's health systems. The certificate program integrates well with the overarching Associate degree and Medical Office Assistant Certificate programs.
Cathedral City, CAMore Info
Mayfield College offers a program for Medical Billing and Coding in the Front Office. The curriculum includes medical terminology, law and ethics, billing and coding systems, and insurance processing. In addition to class work, students must complete a local externship.
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