Medical Billing and Coding

How to Become a Medical Biller and Coder in Pennsylvania

Athena Kan
Aug 8, 2023
Looking for classes? Search on Dreambound

Looking for a rewarding career in the healthcare industry? Becoming a medical biller and coder could be the perfect path for you. As a medical biller and coder, you play a crucial role in the healthcare system by ensuring that patient records and billing information are accurate and up-to-date. In this article, we will explore the steps to becoming a medical biller and coder in Pennsylvania and the various opportunities this field offers.

Understanding the Role of a Medical Biller and Coder

Before diving into the requirements and steps to become a medical biller and coder, it's essential to understand what this role entails. Medical billers and coders are responsible for translating medical procedures and diagnoses into codes that can be easily understood by insurance companies and healthcare providers. They play a crucial role in ensuring accurate reimbursement for healthcare services and maintaining the financial health of healthcare facilities.

Medical billers and coders work with complex coding systems, such as the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), to assign the appropriate codes to medical procedures and diagnoses. This requires a deep understanding of medical terminology, anatomy, and coding guidelines.

In addition to coding, medical billers and coders also handle the billing process. They review patient invoices and claims for accuracy, ensuring that all the necessary information is included and that it complies with insurance policies and regulations. Once the claims are complete, they submit them to insurance companies for reimbursement.

One of the challenges medical billers and coders face is dealing with delayed or denied claims. They are responsible for following up on these claims, investigating the reasons for denial or delay, and taking the necessary steps to resolve any issues. This requires excellent communication and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to navigate complex insurance policies and claim submission processes.

Another critical aspect of the role is maintaining patient records and confidentiality. Medical billers and coders handle sensitive information, including medical histories, diagnoses, and insurance details. They must adhere to strict privacy regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), to ensure patient confidentiality and protect their personal information.

Key Responsibilities of a Medical Biller and Coder

Medical billers and coders have several key responsibilities, including:

  • Assigning appropriate codes to medical procedures and diagnoses: This involves accurately translating medical documentation into standardized codes that are universally recognized and understood.
  • Reviewing patient invoices and claims for accuracy: Medical billers and coders meticulously review all the details in patient invoices and claims to ensure that they are complete, accurate, and comply with insurance policies and regulations.
  • Submitting claims to insurance companies for reimbursement: Once the claims are reviewed and verified, medical billers and coders submit them to insurance companies, following the specific submission processes and requirements of each insurer.
  • Following up on delayed or denied claims: In case of delayed or denied claims, medical billers and coders take proactive measures to investigate the reasons behind the delay or denial, rectify any errors or omissions, and resubmit the claims for processing.
  • Maintaining patient records and confidentiality: Medical billers and coders are responsible for keeping patient records organized, accurate, and confidential. They must handle sensitive information with the utmost care and comply with privacy regulations to protect patient privacy.

Skills Required for a Successful Medical Biller and Coder

To thrive in this profession, medical billers and coders need to possess specific skills, such as:

  • Proficiency in medical coding systems, such as ICD-10 and CPT: Medical billers and coders must have a deep understanding of coding systems and guidelines to accurately assign the appropriate codes to medical procedures and diagnoses.
  • Knowledge of insurance policies and claim submission processes: They need to be well-versed in insurance policies, including coverage limitations and reimbursement rules, as well as the procedures for submitting claims to different insurance companies.
  • Attention to detail and accuracy: Precision is crucial in medical billing and coding. Medical billers and coders must pay close attention to detail to ensure that codes and billing information are correct and complete.
  • Excellent organizational and time-management skills: With multiple patient records, invoices, and claims to handle, medical billers and coders must be highly organized and efficient in managing their workload and meeting deadlines.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team: While medical billers and coders often work independently, they also collaborate with healthcare providers, insurance companies, and other members of the healthcare team to ensure smooth billing and reimbursement processes.

Educational Requirements for Medical Billing and Coding in Pennsylvania

While a college degree is not always necessary to enter the field of medical billing and coding, completing the right education and training can significantly enhance your career prospects. Let's take a look at the different educational requirements for aspiring medical billers and coders in Pennsylvania.

High School Preparation

Beginning your journey as a medical biller and coder starts with a solid high school foundation. Taking courses in health science, biology, anatomy, and math can provide you with a head start and a better understanding of the medical field. Additionally, developing strong communication and computer skills during this time will benefit you in your future career.

Post-Secondary Education Options

After completing high school, aspiring medical billers and coders have several post-secondary education options to choose from. These include:

  1. Associate Degree Programs: Pursuing an associate degree in medical billing and coding can provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the field. These programs typically cover courses in medical terminology, anatomy, coding systems, and medical billing practices.
  2. Certificate Programs: Certificate programs offer a more focused and accelerated path to entering the industry. These programs focus on teaching specific skills and knowledge required for medical billing and coding without the general education requirements of a degree program.
  3. Online Courses: Online courses are becoming increasingly popular, offering flexibility and convenience to those pursuing a career in medical billing and coding. Online programs often provide self-paced learning and can be completed from the comfort of your own home.

Specialized Medical Billing and Coding Programs

For individuals looking for a more specialized education in medical billing and coding, there are programs that offer training in specific areas, such as hospital coding, outpatient coding, or billing for different medical specialties. These specialized programs can give you an edge in the job market and make you a valuable asset to healthcare providers.

Certification Process for Medical Billers and Coders in Pennsylvania

While certification is not mandatory to work as a medical biller and coder, it can significantly enhance your job prospects and earning potential. Most employers prefer hiring certified professionals, as certification demonstrates your dedication and expertise in the field.

Importance of Certification

Obtaining certification from reputable organizations, such as the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) or the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), validates your knowledge and skills in medical coding and billing. Certification also demonstrates your commitment to maintaining high standards in the profession.

Steps to Obtain Certification

The process of obtaining certification typically involves the following steps:

  1. Assess your eligibility: Review the requirements set by the certification organization and ensure that you meet the necessary criteria.
  2. Prepare for the exam: Study the required materials, attend training classes, and take practice exams to familiarize yourself with the format and content of the certification exam.
  3. Take the exam: Schedule and take the certification exam. The exam usually consists of multiple-choice questions that assess your knowledge of medical coding and billing.
  4. Maintain certification: Once certified, you will need to maintain your certification by completing continuing education courses and meeting renewal requirements set by the certification organization.

Maintaining and Renewing Your Certification

Certifications typically require ongoing maintenance and renewal to ensure that individuals stay up-to-date with the latest industry standards. This may involve completing a specific number of continuing education credits or retaking the certification exam after a designated period.

Job Market and Career Opportunities in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania offers a range of exciting job opportunities for medical billers and coders. The state is home to numerous healthcare facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices, which require skilled professionals to manage their billing and coding needs.

Expected Salary and Job Growth

While specific salary figures and job outlook percentages may vary over time, medical billers and coders in Pennsylvania can expect competitive salaries and opportunities for career growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for medical records and health information technicians, which includes medical billers and coders, was $44,090 in May 2020.

Top Employers for Medical Billers and Coders in Pennsylvania

Some of the top employers for medical billers and coders in Pennsylvania include:

  • UPMC Health System
  • Geisinger Health System
  • Penn Medicine
  • WellSpan Health
  • Allegheny Health Network

Career Advancement Opportunities

Becoming a medical biller and coder opens doors to various career advancement opportunities. With experience and additional certifications, you can pursue supervisory roles, become a coding specialist, or even transition into other healthcare-related careers, such as healthcare administration or medical auditing.

Finding Classes at Dreambound

If you're considering a career in medical billing and coding, Dreambound offers comprehensive programs and classes to help you achieve your goals. Their experienced instructors and interactive learning methods ensure that you receive the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in this field.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a medical biller and coder in Pennsylvania is an excellent career choice for anyone interested in the healthcare industry. With the right education, certification, and commitment to ongoing professional development, you can embark on a rewarding journey in this in-demand field. Consider exploring the programs and classes offered by Dreambound as you take your first steps towards a successful career as a medical biller and coder.

Written by
Athena Kan

Athena is Co-founder and CEO of Dreambound.

Share this post:
Find top-rated phlebotomy training programs near you.
Get started today
Find top-rated CNA training programs near you.
Get started today
Easiest way to get certified.
Today is the day to get that certification you've always wanted. Find the perfect training program for you in just a few minutes.
Get started now