Startup Tips for Running a Medical Coding or Billing Business
You'll need a certification in medical coding or billing or at least have relevant experience in the medical industry. You could enroll in short-term programs at your local vocational college or other training centers that offer these courses. If you prefer, you might take the course online or through distance education.
If you don't have the exposure obtained through direct association with the medical industry (many medical coders or billing specialists worked as nurses or nursing aides), getting the training will help you gain an edge. Furthermore, there are standards, regulations and rules you have to comply with. Without training, you won't know what these are.
Once you complete the course, you'll receive a certification, which is very important. Clients prefer certified medical coders or billers and would rather work with those who can show that they can handle the business very well. Certifications are issued by the American Academy of Professional Coders and the American Health Information Management Association.
Home-based or full throttle?
There are two ways you can enter the medical coding or billing industry as a business startup. You could: a) work from home as an independent business owner or b) you could start your own business and hire people to perform coding or billing work for you.
There are advantages and limitations to each one. If you go home-based, which might mean you'll be working alone, you could probably work as a freelance medical coder or billing specialist. However, since competition in this industry is one of the toughest, you might find yourself in a long list of contenders for a position with a client. If you have the experience and contact, though, you could still get a leg up in this business.
Working at as a freelance medical coding or billing specialist is also a good idea if you don't have sufficient experience yet. The job may seem simple enough but it does have its challenges. If you intend to set up a full-blown business in the future, you will find the experience you gain firsthand very valuable.
If you choose to become a stand-alone business venture, you'll probably have a better chance of earning more, particularly because it will be easier for you to service a greater number of big clients. Try to determine which type of business startup you can realistically put up before you launch one.
How much will you spend?
If you go home-based, you'll only spend for the training, the equipment, software, broadband Internet access and the supplies. You'll also spend for your business license, permits and other fees related to a business startup.
If you decide to start your own medical coding and billing company, you will definitely spend more. Other than the computers (you'll need one unit for every coder/billing specialist), you'll have to pay for the software and corresponding license, phone, fax, Internet access and office equipment and supplies.
How much do you stand to earn?
The reason why medical coding and billing is popular as a business startup is that they have the potential for good pay. The expected income for people in this industry ranges from around $33,000 to about $41,500. If we have to go by those figures, you can probably imagine how well a business offering medical coding and billing could earn.
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