medical coding, Medical Billing vs. Medical Coding: Which Job is Right for You?

If you are keen on getting a career in the healthcare industry other than being a doctor or nurse who deals with patients directly, then administrative work such as medical coding and medical billing both can be right career paths as both are growing fields with a 22% increase in medical coding career and medical billing career which is expected by 2022. Moreover, if you’re looking to start a career in less than 2 years then medical billing and medical coding courses can be right for you. 

Picking the option either from the two depends on whether you have a head for numbers or head for anatomy. Both options are vital functions within a healthcare industry. Medical coders and medical billers track medical treatments received at doctor’s office, clinic or at the hospital to coordinate payments from insurance companies and patients. 

What is Medical Billing?

Medical billing is the means of processing insurance claims and creating invoices for patients. The process involves calculating bills and charges for patients, updating financial records, completing financial transactions to settle outstanding balances and providing customer assistance. 

Medical billers are healthcare finance professionals who oversee the payments and balances for insurance claims rendered by a healthcare provider. They can work in environments such as clinics, hospitals, primary care facilities and specialist offices. Medical billers are required to have the following set of skills:

  • Communication
  • Math skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Discretion

To become a medical biller, you are required to complete necessary education, gain entry-level experience, consider certification and update resume to target medical billing positions. 

What is Medical Coding?

Medical coding refers to the process of detailing a patient’s visits and services, tests and treatments they receive. Medical coders extracts billing information from clinical records to create insurance claims and bills for patients. Their job is to analyze clinical documentation to select accurate billing codes assigned to specific diagnosis and procedures that are received by a patient. Medical coders are required to work at hospitals or doctor’s offices. Medical coders are required to have certain skill sets such as :

  • Analysis
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Computer literacy
  • Attention to detail 

To pursue a medical coder career, you are required to complete a medical coding course, pursue entry level experience, earn certification and apply for medical coder jobs. 

Medical billing vs. medical coding:

Both fields focus on administrative work of patient’s healthcare, medical billing and medical coding each require a different unique skill set. 

Sr.No. Medical Coding Medical Billing
1Medical coders translate patient care into current procedural terminology (CPT) codes. Medical billers are responsible for creating a claim based on the codes a medical coder provides. 
2Their primary responsibility is to ensure that medical services provided to the patient are accurately coded. Their primary responsibility is to make sure a facility receives the highest reimbursement possible for a claim. 
3Medical coders translates medical services into codes Medical billers translate the claims from these codes into reimbursements from insurance and patients. 
4Medical coders works with physicians, healthcare facilities and billers Medical billers work directly with insurance companies and patients in addition to physicians and healthcare administrators. 
5To become a Medical Coder you need to have certification in CPT and other multiple certifications for different specializations. Medical billers aren’t always certified but an increasing number of healthcare facilities wants to hire certified billers because their knowledge of regulatory and business issues can help offset frauds and increase revenue. 
6.Medical coders can work directly in the healthcare organizationMedical billers have more autonomy since they can work as an independent service from a hospital or physician’s office. 

Medical billers need to understand how different insurance companies determine claims. The better they understand the regulations and guidelines of the industry, the greater are there chances of ensuring a facility has accurate and timely reimbursement rates. 

If you are more of an independent nature then medical billing can be the most suited option for you as a career. You can work on your own as a biller but working with insurance companies and customer service is still part of your job. This will require you to reach out to many people throughout the day, making it a position fit if you tend to be more social or entrepreneurial minded. 

If you like to work in a  collaborative environment, then medical coding can be the best suited option for you. Medical coders as said above, do not work directly with the public but they do work with physicians and other healthcare providers. 

If the idea of translating services into cash excites you, or you think could be great at creating more efficient systems for increasing an organizations’ revenue, then medical billing can be the option you would like to choose. But if you like to study about the human body and memorizing, translating complex services into codes then a medical coding career can be the best option for you. 

Both medical coding course and medical billing requires certification and training, your interest decides which career path to choose. You may also want to take up an online quiz to determine either of the two options for your career in the healthcare field.