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Medical Billing and Coding

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Medical Billing and Coding

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Medical billing and medical coding are two essential components that work closely in the healthcare industry. Medical coding serves as the crucial starting point, where detailed codes are matched with health records and claims. Meanwhile, medical billing involves sending these claims to the right payers. The primary aim of medical coding is to ensure billing accuracy and to make sure insurance providers handle claims correctly. Yet, beyond just billing, this system also plays significant roles in research and in keeping essential medical records up-to-date for patients.

On Dreambound, there are 277 medical billing and coding programs, 69 upcoming classes, and the average class length is 9 months.

Let's hear directly from one of our students, Jennifer Souza, about her experience with Dreambound: "I really enjoyed using the Dreambound platform. It's super easy to navigate and provides great information on a wide variety of training programs available both online and in person."

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Medical Billing and Coding Certificate Programs

Certificate programs are the shortest option, typically taking 4-12 months. Costs range from $3,000 to $10,000. Both in-person and online options exist.

Pros of Medical Billing and Coding certificate programs:

  • Shorter duration to start working faster. Focus solely on the core medical billing and coding skills needed to get hired for an entry-level job in the field. The narrowed curriculum cuts out general education requirements found in degree programs.
  • May have a lower cost compared to degrees
  • More online options. Can often be completed fully online providing flexibility for those with other commitments like jobs or family. Many programs are self-paced as well, allowing you to progress at your own speed.

Cons of Medical Billing and Coding certificate programs:

  • Less comprehensive than degree programs
  • No degree awarded. Credits earned in certificate programs often do not transfer easily if you later decide to pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree related to the field. You essentially start over.
  • No federal financial aid

Here's an example of a certificate program:

MedCerts

  • Length: 28 weeks self-paced, plus externship
  • Cost: $4,000 total. Monthly payment options are available for those who qualify, with interest rates ranging from 0-12%. MedCerts also has financial aid options for those who qualify through: MyCAA, state workforce funding (including WIOA), and Department of Defense Credentialing Assistance or COOL funding for the Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard
  • Format: 100% online and self-paced
  • NOT available to residents of the following states: Arkansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin

Associate Degree Programs

Associate degrees take 18-24 months and combine medical billing/coding with general education. This provides a broader education.

Pros of Associate Degree in Medical Billing and Coding:

  • Well-rounded degree education: Get a well-rounded education including general business, communications, mathematics and other coursework beyond just medical billing/coding. This develops critical thinking and soft skills valued by employers.
  • Credits can transfer: An associate's degree provides a more natural path to continued education like pursuing a bachelor's degree later on if desired for further career advancement.
  • Financial aid may be available for those who qualify - great for those who qualify for financial aid and need that support

Cons of Associate Degree in Medical Billing and Coding:

  • Longer program: Extended program length of 18-24 months means a longer period before you can start full-time employment in the medical billing/coding field compared to shorter certificate programs
  • Higher costs: Overall costs for an associate's degree are generally higher when considering tuition, fees, textbooks and other expenses over the course of 4-5 semesters versus a shorter certificate.
  • Some non-core coursework: Associate's degrees require general education courses like English, math, humanities, etc. that are not directly applicable to the day-to-day job duties of a medical biller or coder.

Here's an example:

Herzing University

  • Program: Associate of Science in Medical Coding
  • Length: Minimum 20 months long or 60 credit hours
  • Format: Fully online with class dates and some self-paced material. There are class starts about once every other month
  • Costs: Financial aid available for those who qualify
  • About the program: The program covers a broad range of topics, including medical terminology, coding methodologies, billing and reimbursement, and ethical considerations in healthcare. The curriculum is designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary for a successful career in medical coding.

Diploma Programs

Diploma programs last 9-12 months, putting them between certificates and associates degrees in duration and cost. They can be completed sooner than a full 2-year associate's degree program, getting you into the workforce faster while still gaining some broader education that can transfer.

Pros:

  • Shorter than associates: Can be completed sooner than a full 2-year associate's degree program, getting you into the workforce faster while still gaining some broader education.
  • College credits can potentially transfer: However, College credits earned in a diploma program may not transfer as easily to an associate's degree program as if you had started in an associate's program. This can create issues if you later decide to pursue an associate's.
  • Financial aid for those who qualify: Overall costs for diploma programs also tend to fall between certificate and associate's degree program costs, representing a middle-ground financially

Cons:

  • Longer and potentially more expensive than some certificates, though financial aid (if you qualify) can make this not the case
  • No degree awarded

Here's an example:

Peloton College

  • Program: Medical Billing and Coding Diploma
  • Length: About 36 weeks (9 months long) or 740 hours
  • Format: Fully online with class dates. Evening and day options available
  • Costs: Financial aid available for those who qualify
  • About the program: Peloton College offers a comprehensive Medical Billing and Coding program designed to equip students with the essential knowledge and skills needed to succeed in this growing field. Graduates will be eligible to sit for the Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS) Certification or the Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) Certification.

Medical Billing and Coding Class Requirements

Requirements for Medical Billing and Coding professionals are generally consistent across the United States. One common question from prospective students is whether a high school diploma is required. While a high school diploma or equivalent is not strictly mandatory, most training programs do require it. All diploma and Associate's programs require a HS diploma or GED.

Additional prerequisites may include:

  • Passing a background check (often required by employers)
  • Passing a drug screening (often required by employers, almost never required by schools)
  • Being at least 18 years old (employer requirement)
  • Possessing basic computer skills
  • Some programs require placement testing if no high school diploma

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What is Medical Billing and Coding?

Medical billing and coding are essential administrative functions in healthcare. Medical coders translate diagnoses and treatments into standardized codes for insurance claims and record-keeping. Medical billers use these codes to create and submit claims to insurance companies, ensuring healthcare providers receive proper reimbursement for their services. It's a critical aspect of healthcare revenue cycle management.

How much does a Medical Biller and Coder make?

The pay scale for medical billers and coders can fluctuate based on various factors like your background, education, where you work, and the industry you're in. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median yearly salary for professionals in medical records, which includes medical billers and coders, stood at $47,180 as of May 2022. At the lower end, the bottom 10 percent earned below $31,710, while the top 10 percent earned over $75,460.

How long does it take to become a Medical Biller and Coder?

The duration required to become certified as a medical biller and coder can fluctuate based on an individual's circumstances and their selected training program. Medical billing and coding classes usually last between 9 and 12 months, whether they are hybrid or fully online.

Medical Billing and Coding Classes by City

In order to help you find medical billing and coding class, at Dreambound we've gathered the most comprehensive list of medical billing and coding classes in the US. Below you can find a list of medical billing and coding classes, organized by city. If you don't see your city listed, you can always search by zip code.

How to Become a Medical Biller and Coder

We know taking the first step to becoming a medical biller and coder can be scary. That's why we're trying to demystify the process by writing guides on how to become a medical biller and coder. Since State process or requirements may vary, we've written separate guides for each state:

Exploration of Medical Billing and Coding Versus Other Programs

Considering other programs? Read our guides on Medical Billing and Coding versus other similar programs in field, providing a comprehensive overview to assist you in making the right choice for your career path.

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Fel Gonzaga
Written by
Fel Gonzaga

Fel is a student support representative who guides enrollees to the right program and answers their queries. She's committed to helping students and takes pride in her work. In her free time, she enjoys sightseeing and hanging out with loved ones.

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