Would you like to work from home in an occupation that is in high demand? Do the medical and healthcare fields interest you? Then perhaps a work-from-home medical coding and billing job is your calling.
To work as a medical coder and biller, you’ll need to have familiarity with health information management (HIM), medical terminology, and medical record coding.
Most employers require billers to obtain a professional coding certification. Fortunately, certification is possible in a matter of 4-12 months with online training available.
While experience in the medical field isn’t required, if you’ve worked in healthcare before, becoming a coding and billing specialist is a great way to apply your skills and knowledge with the flexibility of working from home.
What is Medical Coding and Billing?
Every time a doctor interacts with a patient, a code is assigned to their action. Physical exams, lab tests, procedures, and treatments are all assigned a code. These numeric codes are called “Current Procedural Terminology” or CPT codes. Each diagnosis is also coded with the “International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems” or ICD-10 code. This universal numeric language ensures that doctors, healthcare providers, and insurance companies use consistent terminology and codes.
Your job as a medical coder and biller is to review the charting done by the doctor, nurse, or medical specialist and ensure that it goes onto a “bill” or form submitted to insurance companies for reimbursement. Some coders check for accuracy and overlapping codes, while others focus on insurance regulations and billing requirements. Medical billers and coders must keep up with ever-changing codes and evolving information in the healthcare industry. Medical billing specialists help prevent fraud, waste, abuse, and errors within the medical industry by ensuring patients and insurance companies are invoiced correctly.
How Much Do Medical Coders and Billers Earn?
Medical billers and coders are in demand! According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for medical records and health information specialists is projected to grow at a rate of 8% in the next ten years. Due to this growth, income and opportunities for medical billing and coding specialists are steadily increasing. On average, medical coders earn $21.20 per hour with an average salary of around $44,090 annually. Coders and billers can earn higher pay by continuing to train and specialize in areas like psychiatry, oncology, or rheumatology.
Independent Contractor vs. Employee Status: What You Need to Know
Many work-at-home medical billing specialists work as independent contractors. This means they’re responsible for setting their own hours and fees. It also means as a 1099 contractor, they’re in charge of reporting income and filing their own taxes. Independent contractors take on as many or as few jobs as they like. Contractors are often responsible for providing their own equipment (including computers and printers) and invoicing the contracting business for their services.
Employees, on the other hand, work for a company directly. The company dictates hours and parameters such as pay and benefits. Being an employee offers structure and stability but at the cost of flexibility. There are pros and cons for both situations, but if you’re working from home as an independent contractor, you’ll have the freedom and the opportunity to work with multiple clients.
Research the pros and cons of becoming a 1099 contractor before you begin. Keep in mind that classifications can vary by state, so be sure to check with your local Labor Department and Department of Workforce Development.
Medical Billing and Coding Education Requirements
To become a medical coder and biller, most employers require certification through the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) or the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
Because the job is highly detailed and there’s a lot of information to absorb, even those with a medical background such as nursing will find it helpful to take a medical billing training program.
Many certification programs are offered online and include graduate support services to assist with job placement. The one we recommend is CareerStep, where you can complete your training online in as little as 4-6 months. They also offer payment options, military discounts, coaching, and they have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
CareerStep prepares students for the following certification exams and even gives them a free voucher to take one of the following:
- Certified Professional Coder (CPC) – certified by AAPC
- Certified Outpatient Coder (COC) – certified by AAPC
- Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) – certified by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Certified Coding Specialist Physician-Based (CSS-P) – certified by AHIMA
According to nurse-turned-medical-coder Tricia Mitchell, “Certifying is the key to success for individuals who are new to medical billing and coding because it proves you are able to complete the job and CareerStep teaches you all of the need to know the information in order to pass the certifying exam. They sent me the contact information for my current employer, and I was able to find a remote coding position right after graduating.“
What Companies Hire Remote Medical Billers and Coders?
If you’re looking for medical billing and coding jobs, there are a few resources you should explore. If you were previously employed in the healthcare industry, you might want to network with your former employers and coworkers. Ask how they’re currently handling their office billing and if they’re outsourcing through a company or handling it all in-house.
If you’ve completed a program like CareerStep, their network of potential employers may provide you with plenty of opportunities to explore. Another option is to peruse the work-at-home job listings at the following sites:
Aviacode is one of the largest medical coding companies in the US. All coders must be AAPC or AHIMA certified and pass a preliminary test. Employment is offered part-time, full-time with benefits, and per diem (work 1-40 hours per week) basis.
- Most positions require experience
Change Healthcare actively recruits coders from July-November. You must have CRC, CPC, or CCS-P certification through AHIMA or AAPC.
- Hires new and experienced coders
Conifer Health Solutions hires inpatient coders, edit coders, as well as senior and specialty coders. You must have a degree in Health Information, Nursing, or formal coding training. Positions come with benefits like paid time off and a retirement plan.
- Most positions require 1-3 years of experience
CSI Companies is a staffing agency that connects businesses with medical coders and billers. To locate the work-from-home positions, filter your search by checking the remote and medical coding checkboxes. Positions are location-dependent, and you’ll start off working as an independent contractor.
- Most positions require 1-3 years of experience, but I have seen postings for entry-level workers
GeBBS Healthcare Solutions hires medical coders from the US, India, and the Philippines. Positions tend to be location-dependent and require the appropriate certification and training. Full-time positions also come with a host of benefits.
- Most positions require 1-3 years of experience, but I’ve seen postings for entry-level positions
iMedX hires a variety of medical coders from Atlanta, Georgia. They have part-time and full-time positions, requiring individuals to have gone through a formal coding program.
- Most positions require 3-5 years of experience
7. Mayo Clinic
The Mayo Clinic hires certified coders in one of the following areas: Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT), Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA), CPC, or CCS.
- New coders must work onsite for one year and then are eligible for remote work options
R1 hires remote coders based in the US. Most of the positions are for full-time hours and require CCS-P or CPC certification.
- Positions require prior coding experience
TCN hires remote coders in a variety of specialties. You must live and work in the US and have one of the following certifications CPC, CCS, RHIA, RHIT, or RCC.
- Must have 3-5 years of experience
UnitedHealth Group hires remote, US-based coders in a wide variety of specialties. Coders must have a high school diploma and CPC, CCS, RHIT, or RHIA certification.
- Must have prior experience
If you’re still struggling to find work-from-home medical coding and billing job, you can always reach out to medical clinics and facilities in your area to see if they are hiring. FlexJobs is another great place to find remote coding jobs.
Watch Out for Medical Billing and Coding Scams
Unfortunately, many scams exist that prey on students seeking training in the medical billing and coding industry. In fact, there are so many scams out there; the FTC has launched an investigation and crackdown on many of the scammers. Be aware there are many scams promising instant work or 30-day training programs.
If you hear of opportunities that sound too good to be true or guarantee employment right away, your radar should go off. Medical billing and coding positions require months of training and certification. They may also require you to learn on the job or gain some experience before you find work-at-home opportunities. The training service should be associated with and endorsed by professional groups like the AAPC or the AHIMA. Look for medical billing and coding training companies accredited by the Better Business Bureau as well.
Becoming a medical biller or coder is a great work-at-home opportunity. There are certainly many positions available if you’ve gone through the right training and certification. If you’d enjoy working in the medical field, billing and coding is a great area to explore!
Have you considered working as a medical coding and billing specialist? Do you know someone who is working in this field? Drop us a note below; we’d love to hear from you!
Originally published March 26, 2018. Content updated August 19, 2021.