FAQs about working remotely as a health claims specialist
You may be considering medical billing and coding schools in order to realize a dream of being able to work from home. But you’re probably also asking yourself if you can really make a decent income as a health claims specialist while working remotely.
Is it all just too good to be true?
Let’s take a look at what’s really involved in going solo or starting your own business as a remote medical billing and coding professional.
Can I work from home right away?
If your goal is to do medical billing and coding from home, it’s important to be realistic about timeframes. The fact is, you may need several years of experience as a health claims specialist in a medical facility before you can go out on your own.
However, remember to take the long view. Working alongside other billing and coding specialists will allow you the chance to hone your skills, learn from others, and ask questions.
Obviously, companies are most interested in hiring medical billers and coders who can be trusted to work independently. You’ll be much more attractive to potential employers or clients if you have several years on the job under your belt.
Do I have to get my own clients?
The answer to that depends on your approach. If you’re the entrepreneurial type, you may want to prospect and pitch your own clients to build a solid revenue stream. Some coders even end up subcontracting some of their work to other coding specialists.
You may also find employment with an agency that sells outsourced coding to medical facilities. In these types of arrangements, you may be hired as an employee or as a subcontractor.
Do I have to get my own health insurance?
That depends. If you’re hired as a remote employee, you may be covered through the employer’s health plan. If you’re a subcontractor or if you’re acquiring your own clients, you’ll probably be on the hook for getting your own benefits.
If you need to purchase your own health insurance, visit the U.S. Health Insurance Marketplace at healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 to find out how to purchase individual health insurance in your state. [Note: The phone lines are manned 24/7, so try calling during off hours if you can’t get through during the day.]
Can I work while I’m on vacation?
It’s possible! However, keep in mind that you’ll need a little bit more than a laptop and Wi-Fi. Companies often require their remote billers and coders to connect to their system using a secure Internet connection in order to comply with HIPAA regulations.
Can I make my own hours?
Much of the time, yes, you can make your own hours. Many medical billing and coding professionals who work remotely find this flexibility to be one of the greatest perks of their work.
In addition to the obvious benefit of deciding when and where you’d like to work, this can also be a cost saver for some people. For example, parents of young children may find that they have to pay out less for childcare. Just remember, though, medical billing and coding requires strict attention to detail. It may not be realistic to expect to focus on your professional work while simultaneously watching small children. For long-term success, it’s important to structure your work hours during those times when you can give your work your full attention.
What are the downsides?
Here are the “reality check” items to consider before deciding to enter the ranks of the self-employed:
- It will be your responsibility to ensure that you continue your education so you can remain marketable.
- You may need to fulfill multiple job roles above and beyond your billing and coding duties, including sales, accounting, human resources (i.e., taking care of your own benefits), customer service, and IT.
- You will need to pay your own taxes.
- Some people find that working from home can be isolating.
What should I do next?
If you think a career as a medical billing and coding professional might be right for you, request more info from The Salter School, or schedule a tour at one of our campuses in Fall River, Tewksbury, or Malden.