Can you spot the too-good-to-be-true offers?
If you’re thinking about enrolling in a medical billing and coding school, chances are you’ve done some Internet research on careers as a health claims specialist.
While doing so, you may have seen some offers that had you wondering if the information was legitimate or not. That’s a good impulse. While the job market for health claims specialists is growing fast at the moment – and certified government statistics bear that out – those opportunities mean that a certain amount of unscrupulous companies have appeared on the scene with offers that don’t have your best interests in mind.
Before you take advantage of any medical billing and coding deals, let’s take a look at some common claims that may indicate a scam.
Training in less than six months
Becoming proficient in medical billing and coding takes time – and there are no short cuts.
In addition to codes, healthcare regulations, and insurance information, medical billers and coders need to have a basic understanding of physiology, medical terminology, and electronic healthcare records systems.
Watch out for:
- Programs that promise training and/or certification in less than six months
- Software-based training programs that you do on your own
- Medical billing and coding schools with no physical addresses listed on their sites
Telecommuting right away
Working from home can be a big incentive for people to enter medical billing and coding schools. However, recent graduates may be prime targets for companies that promise they can work from home right away. These organizations may promise to give access to leads that you can contact on your own. This service is often sold as part of a larger work-from-home “business package.”
The truth is, you’re probably not going to be able to work from home right out the gate. More likely, you’ll need several years of experience under your belt before you can realistically make a living as an independent coding professional.
Medical professionals count on billing and coding specialists to do a critical task, that is, ensure that the practice is compensated for the procedures it performs. With the financial health of the practice on the line, you can bet that medical practitioners are not going to trust those important operations to an unknown, inexperienced person.
Look out for:
- “Business packages” that supposedly provide everything you need to start your own business
- Any ads labeled “business opportunity” or something similar
- Coding outsourcing lead companies that won’t name any of their billing and coding clients
- Companies that claim they’ll hire you to work from home when you’re just starting out in the field
- A more strategic approach to getting started
Medical billing and coding can be a rewarding career for some people. It’s just important to remember that this is a very serious profession that requires intense training – so any company that treats this job as a “get rich quick” scheme is probably one you should be wary of.
Branford students who have questions about job opportunities in medical billing and coding should talk to their instructors or schedule an appointment with Career Services.