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Medical Coding and Billing Services - At-Home Business Opportunities

by Jean Murray on February 25th, 2009

The health care field is one of the fastest growing today, and with more and more Baby Boomers reaching Medicare eligibility, this field will be (pardon the expression) “booming” over the next 10-15 years.  Employment of health records technicians is expected to increase 16% or more through 2013, and many hospitals, medical offices, health care providers, and home health services are outsourcing these skills to home-based individuals.

Think for a minute of every kind of health care office you can imagine - physical therapists, chiropractors, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, and on and on - ALL of them need coders and billing services!

The new economic stimulus package (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) recently signed by President Obama provides incentives for health care providers to use Electronic Health Records (EHRs) starting in 2011.  This change to electronic records means (1) more billing and coding can be done at home electronically, and (2) there will be increased demand for EHR-knowledgeable specialists in these areas. While at present only 10% of coders code from electronic records, paper records will almost certainly all-but disappear in the next few years.

Home health records technicians come in two broad categories:

  • Billing specialists and services businesses
  • Coding specialists

Medical records billing services. These individuals understand the requirements for getting medical bills paid by Medicare and provider networks such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield.  They charge by the claim for entering data and submitting claims; some will also manage accounts receivable for their clients.  Many physicians, for example, find that outsourcing their medical claims billing offers them faster payments and higher rates of payments.

Physicians submit claims online through secure email (for HIPPA security) and claims are transmitted directly to the provider network.  Since everything is done electronically, your clients don’t have to be your neighbors; they can be anywhere.

Coding Specialists.  Coders are the people who put codes on claims that get sent out for payment. Excellent coders are always in demand, because the codes determine whether a claim gets paid or not. The American Assn. of Professional Coders says that about a third of coders work from home.  Hospitals in particular are finding it cheaper to pay coders to work from home by the hour, either as employees or independent contractors.

I know several coders at a hospital in my town who are being asked to work from home, and my niece works out of her home as a coder.  With today’s technology, they can receive doctor’s notes over the Internet and do their coding and send back documents the same way.  The average annual wage for a coder is $43,500, but these are mostly employees; specialists receive more.  I wasn’t able to determine how much self-employed coders get.

Training and Certification Required. To set up a billing service or coding service you will need to learn the business.  You might want to find a local company and work for them for a while to learn, or you can go to training classes.  You will also need to be trained and certified.  The American Association of Professional Coders offers training and certification or check with the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) for an accredited institution in your area.

If you are detail oriented and good with computers, a home-based billing service or coding service might be a great opportunity for you.

Image source: Newcom

Tags: , health businesses, home-based businessed, medical billing services

POSTED IN: Baby Boomers, Business Ideas, Home Business Opportunities, Technology

5 opinions for Medical Coding and Billing Services - At-Home Business Opportunities

  • Christeen G. Kline
    Feb 27, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I would like to know how do I get started in setting up my home based coding business? Do you need experience in the job field before you can start. I have my certification in medical coding and billing (CBCS). My job experience has been in the medical records for several years.

  • Jean Murray
    Feb 27, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Hi Christine - Getting your own business started is a great idea. Your experience in medical records can help you in a home-based coding service. See if there are any other coders in your area who might be willing to give you some of their extra work, or who would let you take over when they are on vacation. That way, you could get a feel for how to do this at home before you start out.

    Anyone else have a suggestion for Christeen?

  • Sangram Keshari Choudhury
    Mar 18, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    I would like to know how do I get started in setting up my home based coding business? Do you need experience in the job field before you can start. I have my certification in medical coding (CCA) and (CCS). I have total experience of 6+ years in healthcare domain and especially in coding 2+ years experience. Please do suggest what is the path and how can i start home business.

  • Jean Murray
    Mar 20, 2009 at 5:25 am

    It sounds like you have all the technical experience you need, and you have worked in a coding business. Since I get this question a lot, I’ve decided to write a post about it. Look at my post for today - March 21 - for more information.

  • How Do I Start a Home Business?
    Mar 20, 2009 at 5:46 am

    [...] get asked this question all the time.  Someone just asked me about starting a medical coding or billing service at home, and I decided to answer her in a post, so everyone can see the answer.  So here it [...]

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