Can I Start a Home-Based Medical Billing and Coding Business?

The health care industry is known for outsourcing medical billing and coding. Many medical practitioners turn to alternative medical billers to prepare and send claims for them. This frees up the doctors and staff to focus on patient care. This is a good opportunity for a home-based business, and with the right steps, you can start a billing and coding business. If you are interested in working in medical billing, you will need to spend some time learning this career arena.

Before Beginning: Self-Assessment

Being your own boss can be empowering, flexible, and even financially lucrative, yet as with any business endeavor, it is important to assess your personality, and your personal needs and goals. Operating a medical billing and coding business in your home requires discipline, focus, and the ability to handle all aspects of the business, especially in light of distractions. Is your home work environment conducive to setting up a business? Ideally, a separate room devoted to your work is optimal. The biggest reason people fail in this particular home-based business is due to lack of understanding of their own limitations, or not doing through enough research of what exactly medical billing and coding involves. Some personalities are not cut out for it; before committing time, training, and dollars, do an honest self-assessment.

Getting Started

There is a wide variety of medical billing classes available for your new venture. In your training, you will learn how to enter patient codes, practitioner information and how to work with insurance companies. The classes are offered through community colleges, online, or through the mail. You can earn a certificate or even a degree. There are also several industry trade organizations which offer courses on different areas of medical billing and coding.

If possible, try to get some hands-on experience. A job in a medical office or healthcare volunteering is an excellent way to gain insight into the medical industry. You may even win more clients from the direct experience. This also gives you an edge in networking and making industry contacts. Temp agencies are a great way to get your foot in the door. Opportunities with professional organizations and other medical staffing gig can help you to gain confidence, and land your clients.

The Next Steps

There will be some costs involved in setting up your home-based medical billing and coding business but to your advantage, it is relatively inexpensive to start this specific home office. As well, you will be able to bypass the usual overhead involved in regular offices. Invest in the most up-to-date manuals, like Medicare, for your billing and coding. Reference coding books such as Acquire ICD-10, CPT, and HCPCS Expert 2000 coding books are great to have around even if you have online access. You will want to have the best resources at hand when you are performing transmittals to ensure compliant billing. There are numerous software companies who have excellent medical billing software to make your job more fluent and faster, take a look at what there is to offer. Basic office equipment like filing cabinet, fax and printer, and a business phone line will help keep your business organized and functional.

Try to sit down and write a business plan. The purpose of this is to put on paper your professional goals and milestones. You will have an idea on how to execute a successful home-based business. How will you achieve these goals? Research your local market. Once again, it is all back to networking and marketing your business.

Apply for your business license. You may have the capability within your own city to be able to download the necessary paperwork from their online websites. For a medical billing and coding license you only need apply for a general business license. These also can be obtained through the county clerk’s office in the department of licenses and inspection. Also, purchase professional liability insurance. Some mistakes could have potentially hard financial repercussions for your clients.

Area of Specialty

There are very many options in the medical billing industry to pursue clients. This could be your edge if you already have a background in a specific area of healthcare. Focusing on a niche area of health care eliminates the need to know a larger volume of billing codes. Remember, the area you choose to specialize in may also determine the volume of work you will be doing. Determine what types of health industry practitioners you will serve. There are endless categories from dentists to Psychiatrists and even ambulance services.

Earning an Income

Set your value. What will you charge to ensure your business and professional reputation continue to thrive? There are typically three main ways of charging the healthcare system. You may charge a percentage of each bill that is paid, an hourly fee, or a per-claim fee. Get an idea on how to charge for your services by calling established medical billing companies and asking about their rates. Also, consider hiring a clearinghouse to handle the electronic transmissions of medical claims. They can be of great service between insurance companies and medical billers, cutting time in half to process claims.

Grow Your Business

Now that you have put into motion your own medical billing and code home-based business, continue to grow your business by visiting practitioner offices, word-of-mouth referrals by doctors, and share your information with everyone you know. This is one of the best ways to get more clients. Be brave in self-promotion, any successful business owner will tell you this.

You can have your own home-based medical billing and coding business, and with success!

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