What is the Difference between Medical Billing and Medical Coding?

medical billing and coding schoolIf you are considering medical billing and coding school, read on to learn more about this profession.

You maybe wondering if a career in medical billing and coding is a good choice for you. Before making any career move, it’s important to understand what kinds of responsibilities and skills would be required of you in your new field.

What do medical billers and coders do? What is the difference between billing and coding? Billing and coding are two separate functions that take place in a medical office. Sometimes they are combined into one job, and other times, they may be separate jobs.

Medical Coder Responsibilities

Medical coders:

  • are responsible for analyzing patient records and then assigning the right procedure code or diagnosis code for the services the patient received. Accurate coding is important, because it is used in patients’ insurance claims;
  • use CPT, or Current Procedural Terminology, to select the correct codes for patient procedures;
  • use ICD terminology, or International Classification of Diseases, in order to select the right diagnosis codes for patients’ diagnoses;
  • are sometimes responsible for asking other office staff for more information on patient records, in order to determine the correct coding;
  • might help educate the staff on the kinds of information that needs to be included in patients’ charts, so that accurate coding can be completed.

Medical Biller Responsibilities

Medical billers:

  • enter the medical codes into special billing software in order to submit insurance claims to the insurance companies;
  • are responsible for understanding insurance procedures so that claims can be submitted accurately;
  • often work directly with patients to obtain their insurance information. They may also be responsible for explaining charges to patients, and helping them to understand their insurance benefits;
  • are in contact with insurance companies in order to follow up with claims that have not been paid;
  • play an important role in the finances of many medical offices, because they help insure that the office is receiving payment for its services.

Looking for a Medical Billing and Coding School?

If you are looking for a medical billing and coding school, there may be community colleges or private career schools in your area that offer the training you need to pursue this career.

The College Navigator is one resource that provides a database of post-secondary schools. You can search it by state or zip code to find schools near you. It is published by the National Center for Education Statistics, and includes information about tuition, graduation rates, programs offered, and financial aid for hundreds of schools across the country.  If you are using this database be sure to search for the term “Medical Insurance Specialist/Medical Biller.”

Making your School Decision

Now that you have a better understanding about what those in this profession do, you are better equipped to make this important decision about your future. Once you have found the right school for you, be sure to make a commitment to attending all of your classes, completing your homework, and studying hard. This is the start of a new career path, and taking your school work seriously is the first step to developing a rewarding career.

The Harris School of Business prepares students for careers in medical billing and coding through its Health Claims Specialist program. This program is offered in Harris’s New Jersey-based campuses in Hamilton/Trenton, Cherry Hill, Linwood, and Voorhees, as well as the Dover, Delaware campus. If you live in the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Delaware tri-state area and are considering a career as a medical biller or coder, consider the Harris School.