Medical billing & coding online programs are an excellent option for those looking for a lucrative field that offers an education component.
Medical billing & coding online programs will help you “identify diagnoses and medical tests, treatment, and procedures found in clinical documentation” and then teach you how to transform this data into codes to bill the government and commercial payers for physician reimbursement.
One of the fastest-growing healthcare careers is medical billing and coding. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the field will grow by 9% by 2031.
A medical billing class can help you gain the essential knowledge required to be a medical coder or biller. This training will allow you to experience real-world coding situations before entering the field professionally. It also helps you pass exams that will earn you in-demand professional certifications, which will give you a competitive edge when you apply for jobs.
Although medical coding ranks 24th on U.S. News and World Report 2021’s Best Jobs Without a College Degree, it does not mean that you don’t need an education. 3 The higher your skills, the more you can make.
Many state colleges offer online medical billing and coding classes. There are many benefits to enrolling in college courses. Financial aid, including federal loans, grants, scholarships, and scholarships, is possible depending on the school. Earned credits can be transferred to another college and used towards a degree. We have rounded up the top medical billing & coding online programs in 2022. Let’s first understand medical billing and coding.
What is medical billing & coding
You would be a medical coder and biller and convert patient encounters into formats and numbers that payers (including insurance companies and government agencies) can use to reimburse providers you represent. This involves the transcription of diagnoses, tests, and treatments from patients’ charts into two types of codes. The first code is the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10). It describes diagnoses. The second code is Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), which describes services.
What do medical billers and medical coders do?
The process of converting patients’ clinical data into standard codes that can be distinguished by government and private payers is overseen by medical coders and medical billers. For proper claim filing and reimbursement, coders and medical billers also track patients’ insurance information.
Once they have created and filed accurate claims, coders and medical billers work with payers to ensure their practice receives prompt, full reimbursement. If claims are rejected, coders and billers also supervise the appeals and resubmission processes. It’s becoming less common to have medical coders and billers manually review claims for errors since automated claim scrubbers do this faster.
Who is a medical billing & coding specialist
A medical coding and billing specialist is essential as a liaison between the medical practice and insurance companies. What does this all mean? The coding and billing specialist assists the healthcare facility in managing insurance claims, invoices, payments, and other administrative tasks. A medical coding and billing specialist’s day-to-day duties include:
- Correctly code services, procedures, diagnoses, and treatments
- Preparation and transmission of invoices or claims to payment
- Correcting rejected claims
- Monitoring payments
- Follow-up with patients and insurance companies regarding outstanding bills
These workers are often found in the same hospital where patients receive treatment. However, it is primarily an office job and not patient-facing clinical work. Medical coding and billing specialists will spend a lot of time on the computer reviewing, entering, updating, and reviewing information.
Many medical offices employ coding and billing specialists who have the necessary training to fulfill these roles. Although more extensive facilities may hire separate teams to handle the billing and the coding, they often work closely together to ensure that the process runs smoothly. Avoiding billing and coding errors is an essential thing to ensure timely collection.
Average Salary for a Medical Coding & Billing Specialist
Glassdoor.com estimates that the average annual salary for a Medical Coding and Coding Specialist in the United States is $34,253, with an estimated total pay of $48,278. These figures represent the median. This is the middle of the ranges from the Total Pay Estimate model. It is based on the salaries we have collected from our users. Additional pay is estimated at $14,025 per annum. Cash bonuses, commissions, tips, or profit-sharing could be included in the additional pay. The “Most Likely Range,” a range of values within the 25th to 75th percentiles of all available pay data for this job, represents these values.
Medical billing & coding online programs can be taken at $3,000 to $30,000 at your local community college or $30,000 at larger, better-known institutions. Whether you are a member, certification exams from the AAPC or AHIMA can cost $300 to $400. After you have earned your AAPC or AHIMA certification, you will need to continue your education to renew your certification. These courses can cost anywhere from $900 to $1800 every two years.
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Medical Billing & Coding Specialist Skill Requirements
Medical coders and billers must have a relevant degree to work with the healthcare information system. Additional credentials are highly encouraged. Many skills can make a person a competent medical coder and biller. These are just three of the many considerations.
1. Education requirements for medical billing and coding
You need to have one of these degrees or certifications to work in medical billing and coding. An AAPC, CAHIIM, or AHIMA accreditation will be awarded to a trustworthy program in these areas.
- Certificate programs in medical billing and code: These certificate programs are great for those who want to enter the field of medical billing or coding quickly. Most programs are less than one year long and cover basic ICD-10 codes, medical terminology, procedures, and biological systems. Many certification programs offer hands-on training using the most popular medical software and help establish billing and compliance basics.
- Associate’s Degree: These programs will give you the same curriculum and experience as a certification program in health information management. A degree is more attractive than a medical billing firm and practice certificate. Associate’s degrees may also count towards completing several undergraduate credit hours.
- Undergraduate degree: Some universities offer four-year bachelor’s degrees in traditional medical billing and code, healthcare administration, or health information management. These programs are more detailed and provide information about data analysis, compliance, health policy, project management, and human resources.
2. Medical billing and coding credentials
After graduating from one of these programs, you may – and should – take the following AHIMA credentialing examinations.
- Certified Coding Associate CCA: This certification shows that you can manage healthcare information tact and diligence. You can immediately take the certification exam if you have graduated from an AHIMA-accredited school. To be eligible for the exam, you will need to have six months of experience.
- Registered health information technician (RHIT), You must have graduated from an accredited CAHIIM-accredited undergraduate program or health information management associate to be eligible for this exam. To take the RHIT examination, you don’t need any work experience.
These two AHIMA credentials are available after you have worked as a coder or medical biller for at least two years.
- Certified Coding Specialist: If you want to be a medical coder and biller in a hospital setting, this credential is highly recommended. CCS certification is a credential that demonstrates proficiency in medical terminology and pharmacology.
- Certified Coding specialist – Physician-Based (CCS – P): CCS-P is a mark of proficiency in physician-level billing. It includes all of the same areas as the CCS credential and HCPCS Level 2 coding. This credential is the most critical indicator of medical billing and coding proficiency.
The above situations require you to recertify as a coder and medical biller every two years. You will need to complete 20 continuing education units (CEUs) and two self-reviews each year for coding. Each CEU counts as five CEUs. AHIMA explains additional recertification requirements and CEU options in its recertification manual.
3. Medical billing and coding skills
While medical billing and coding are open to all, it is possible to be more successful in this field if your skillset includes these:
- Pay attention to details: Medical coding systems are complex and contain seemingly endless strings of numbers between five and six digits. You will need to be able to spot errors in numerical data. You are more likely than not to receive rejections of claims if you ignore details.
- Computer literacy: Most medical billing now happens digitally instead of in the printed form. You may be able to do medical billing and coding tasks quickly if you’re computer-literate.
- Organizational skills. Coding and medical billing require filling out many forms for several patients. Inadequate organization of these forms can cause operational problems that make billing difficult for patients and the practice.
- Data privacy: HIPAA regulations require you to keep your healthcare information private, except for reimbursement. You will have to respect the privacy of others as a coder or medical biller. Therefore, you will not be allowed to share patient information with other team members.
- Data analysis It is essential to quickly and accurately assess the meaning of codes based on patient charts. Data analysis can also be used to correct errors.
- Anatomy & Physiology: To understand whether codes are related, it is essential to be familiar with anatomy and physiology. Although no biller or coder can be considered an expert in every scientific field, you should still be able to understand the interplay of bodily systems and medical processes.
Is medical billing and coding worth it?
Although medical coding can seem complicated, once you get the hang of it, you will find it is well worth your time and effort.
This profession can be challenging, and accuracy is crucial. Billers and medical coders use thousands of codes from many code sets (ICD CPT, HCPCS, CPT) that are frequently updated. These coders convert medical information into clearly defined codes. This requires a good understanding of anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology.
Medical coding requires accuracy and keen attention to minor details. This skill is valuable for many jobs in the healthcare industry, including health information technicians. Below are reasons why you should apply for a medical billing & coding online programs
What Are Medical Billing & Coding Online Programs?
These classes will teach you to use medical codes to submit claims to insurance companies. A class can help you gain the foundational knowledge necessary to succeed in medical billing and coding. If you’re looking to break into the medical billing and coding field and/or earn an AAPC or AHIMA certification, taking a class is a great way to gain foundational knowledge imperative to your success.
Who Should Take a Medical Billing & Coding Online Programs?
This job is best for detail-oriented people who have good keyboard skills and can focus well. Medical billing coders often work remotely, which is excellent for those with disabilities or parents who can’t travel to work.
There are different requirements for medical billing or coding jobs. Some companies prefer to have a year or more of experience, while others need education and certification.
What do Medical Billing & Coding Online Programs Entail?
An excellent course in medical billing and coder training will teach you how to apply different medical codes correctly. It includes anatomy, physiology, medical ethics, computer literacy, and classes. Most online classes include quizzes, assignments, and final exams that test your knowledge. While most do not provide lifetime access, they generally allow you to access the learning materials for six months. Some courses may require prerequisites in anatomy or physiology. However, each course in this list can offer training in these areas.
How Much Do Medical Billing & Coding Online Programs Cost?
Many factors affect the cost of medical billing or coding classes. A technical school may allow you to obtain certification in a shorter time and for a lower price.
An accredited college will typically charge around $15,000 for a 2-year online medical billing or coding associate’s program. 5
There are many pricing options available. Some schools charge per credit hour, while others charge a flat fee for the entire course. Schools may also have different pricing depending on where they are located.
Medical Billing & Coding Online Programs Certification
Although certification is not required for every job, it can help you get a billing and medical coding specialist job. Your earning potential may be increased by obtaining a medical coding certification.
According to the BLS, a medical secretary’s average or mean salary (under which coders and medical billers fall) was $34,610 in 2017. Earning industry certifications, such as the CPC®, a credential from AAPC, can help you make more. According to the 2017 AAPC Salary Survey, coders who have 13 years of experience and hold the CPC certification earn an average annual salary of $54,106.
Although work experience and other eligibility requirements are required for complete CPC certifications, individuals who pass the exam without the necessary experience can be awarded the CPC apprentice (CPC–A) designation. CPC Apprentices may be granted full CPC status by submitting proof that they have two years of experience or 80 hours in a coding course.
Your earning potential can rise with formal education, certification, and experience, especially when you reach senior-level or supervisory positions.
To hire a new billing or coding specialist in a medical office, you need experience or certification. Some offices may prefer to have both. A diploma or degree in medical billing or coding will help you get the necessary knowledge and prepare you for the certification exam. So below are the top medical billing & coding online programs
Top medical billing & coding online programs
Below are the online colleges that offer medical billing and coding, we also recommend these schools for medical billing and coding specialist. These accredited online colleges for medical billing and coding also offermedical billing and coding accredited online courses:
1. Hutchinson Community College
- Cost: $6,615 for the certification
- Offers self-paced path: No
Why We Chose It: Hutchinson Community College offers a cost-effective path to earning a Healthcare Coding Specialist Certificate. It is also the best medical billing & coding online programs to apply for in 2022
Hutchinson Community College was established in 1928. Students interested in a career as a healthcare coding specialist can earn a Healthcare Coding Specialist Certificate. This online program is 45 credit hours long and can be completed in three semesters.
Students who wish to continue their education can transfer credits from this program to the Health Information Management Associate degree in Applied Science.
Prerequisites for enrollment in the program include academic performance as a high-school graduate with a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.0 on the 4.0 scale for the last six semesters, a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.0 on the 4.0 scale to complete 12 semester hours of college or a minimum GED standard score of at least 58.
Even for students from out of state, tuition at Hutchinson Community College can be affordable. Out-of-state students are charged $116 per-credit-hour credit hour, while in-state students are charged $147 per credit hour. This makes the tuition cost approximately $5,220 for certification in the state or $6,615 for students who live outside the state.
2. American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)
- Cost: Certified Professional Coder (CPC) course starts at about $2,295
- Offers self-paced path: Yes
Why We Chose It: The American Academy of Professional Coders offers a wide range of certification programs, supplementary courses, and practice exams. It is also the best medical billing & coding online programs to apply for in 2022
The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) has been around since 1990 and has a solid reputation with graduate students. It offers many classes at affordable prices. The website also has a wealth of knowledge and resources to help students succeed. With 200,000 members, AAPC is the largest healthcare training and credentialing organization globally.
The AAPC offers a wide range of certification courses at different price points. You can enroll in any level of education, whether taking the certification exam or a full course load in one of many specialties.
A word of caution: People who choose the lowest-level certification route report difficulty finding jobs without prior experience. Although cheap certification can be attractive, it is far less helpful in the job market.
Learning through AAPC offers additional benefits such as mentorship, networking, and an online apprenticeship that provides practical experience. AAPC certification programs are focused on outpatient coding. They are more suited for doctor’s offices, clinics, and other outpatient settings.
3. University of Cincinnati
- Tuition starts at $3,189 per semester
- Self-paced, self-paced course
Why We Chose It: UC ONLINE’s program prepares students to take the Certified Professional Coder and Certified Coding Associate exams. Students can also earn an Associate’s Degree in as little as one year. It is also the best medical billing & coding online programs to apply for in 2022
The University of Cincinnati (also known as UC) is part of the University System of Ohio. It’s an entirely remote asynchronous program like FAMU, but it is not self-paced.
With full-time enrollment, students can earn the certificate within 12 months. After completing the program, students can either sit for the CCA/CPC national certifications or transition to the Associate degree program in Health Information Systems.
Unlike other college programs, UC’s medical billing/coding program requires only a high school diploma. 4 UC graduates are 29% more likely than the average to pass RHIA.
Ohio residents will pay $3,189 per semester for full-time enrollment. For non-residents and full-time students, the tuition cost will be around $3369. Part-time resident students will pay approximately $266 per credit hour, while non-resident part-time students will pay around $281 per credit.
4. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
- Tuition starts at $295 per credit hour
- Self-paced, self-paced course
Why We Chose It: The Indiana University School of Information and Computing’s medical coding certification program integrates classroom instruction and practical, technical experience in a hospital. It is also the best medical billing & coding online programs to apply for in 2022
This institution is part of both the Purdue University and Indiana University systems. Through Indiana University’s School of Information and Computing, it offers remote medical coding certification. The program is entirely online and offers 28 credit hours. Students will be eligible for the CCA exam after completing the certificate program.
There are several prerequisites for the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis’ Undergraduate Certificate In Medical Coding program. You must have taken Physiology and Health Care Management, Anatomy and Health Care Management, Computer Concepts For Health Information, Medical Terminology, and Computer Concepts For Health Information before registering for the course.
You can apply credits earned in this program towards a bachelor’s in Health Information Management at IUPUI.
Prices will vary depending upon residency and other factors. Expect to pay approximately $295 per credit hour for tuition. Higher tuition can be found outside of the state.
5. Florida A&M University
- Cost: The registration fee is approximately $2,000
- You can choose your own pace
Why We Chose It: Florida A&M offers a self-paced medical code program that allows busy students to learn on their own time. It is also the best medical billing & coding online programs to apply for in 2022
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is a public university located in Tallahassee, the capital of Florida. The university’s Office of Continuing Education offers medical coding and only provides online accreditation. Students can complete coursework at their own pace with the asynchronous format.
The school suggests that you follow a three-module pace, with each module consisting of three courses. Each module should not exceed 15 weeks. Students will be issued a Medical Coding Certificate after completing the program.
They might choose to take the American Health Information Management Association, Certified Coding Associate (CCA), American Academy of Professional Coders, or Certified Professional Coders (CPC) national certification exams.
Each module costs approximately $2,000. You can also register for individual modules. However, this will increase the overall cost.
6. American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
- Exam application costs $299
- You can choose your own pace
Why We Chose It: The American Health Information Management Association offers eight certification programs for health information management with outstanding reputations. It is also the best medical billing & coding online programs to apply for in 2022
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), an accreditation body that sets standards for medical recording, was founded in 1928. It has 52 state associations and more than 103,000 members.
AHIMA offers eight certifications for medical records management, professional and hospital coding, documentation enhancement, privacy and security, and documentation improvement. These certifications are more appropriate for hospitals and inpatient facilities, and they focus on inpatient and outside patient coding.
Health professionals who have AHIMA’s higher-level certifications, the Registered Health Information Administrator Exams (RHIA) and Registered Health Information Technician Examination (RHIT), make a lot more than those with lower certifications. The courses cost $299 and require extensive experience.