Online medical billing and coding courses; watch out for scams!

Medical billing and coding is in such a rapid demand that schools are popping up every where both online and on site. The thing with a situation like this is the room for scammers to come in and make some money from the all excitement and chaos.

There are many schools promising complete courses that will guarantee a medical billing and coding certificate or degree online. Others promise people that it will only take a few months to get a certificate while yet many others promise students that they will be able to work from home the instant the graduate.

In other to better understand the subject of this post, lets talk a little about what medical billing and coding is all about.

What is medical billing and coding?

binary-1188505_640Medical billing and coding are a very important part of the healthcare system. Without these two fields, it will be very difficult to transmit information within the medical system and medical professionals will find it extremely hard to get paid for all the work they do.

Medical coding is involved in transforming bulky medical information into neat numeric or alpha-numeric codes that are easier to interpret and makes billing a lot easier. It is some what like what computers do; they convert all the information we provide whether in written form, video or images into ones and zeros.

This codes help health insurance and other third party agencies that pay bills for patients, attach the right charges for a visit to a medical facility. Medical billing and coding is the universal language of doctors, other medical professionals, insurance companies and government agencies.

How to avoid scams when looking for billing and coding schools

Avoid schools that promise completion of the course work in less than 6 months

skills-1248059_640Accredited medical billing and coding institutions usually provide two levels of credentials; associate degree and a certificate program. A certificate program usually takes about a year to complete while an associate program takes about two years to complete.

Because medical coding and billing requires a good mastery of human anatomy and medical terminology, ICD-10-CM codes, CPT codes and modifiers, HCPCS codes and modifiers, cross walking, insurance and insurance claims, medicaid and medicare and much more, it makes sense that it should take about a year or more to get a certificate in this field.

It also makes sense that there are many scams out there targeting people who are hoping to become medical coding and billing professionals. It is not very easy to identify legitimate programs from illegitimate ones but the first step will be to avoid any course that last less than 6 months.

It is in human nature to want things that are easy and quick but cautious people know that nothing good comes easy. If you are really interested in learning and understanding the principles behind billing and coding, then you will need about a year or two.

Avoid institutions that are not accredited

stamp-924567_640Accreditation is a rigorous process where by the curriculum of educational institutions are determined fit and appropriate for the courses they intend to offer to the public by certain non governmental organizations. In the case of billing and coding accreditation is done by American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). It is important to attend an accredited school if you plan on getting certified later on.

You can also qualify for certification after school if the school attended is accredited by the following regional accrediting institutions,

  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA)
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NASC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
  • Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NASC)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

It is not advisable to attend a school without checking for its accreditation. You need to think long term because if you decide to continue in that field in the future, your credits from an accredited school will transfer where ever you go.

Avoid ads that promise you will work from home immediately you graduate from school

Medical billing and coding professionals handle a lot of sensitive medical information including social security number, address, demographics, medical record and much more. These are all information that are protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).

Medical information systems are design to protect these delicate health information and before any employee is trusted to handler such information safely from home, they should have been working with their organization for quit sometime.

In other words the chances that you will be allowed to work from home as a newbie will be very difficult. You will have to work your way up and gain some trust and experience before that will happen.

Further more, ads that say you can run your own medical billing and coding program from home are probably scams because hospitals, clinic and other medical facilities only contract organizations not individuals to perform billing and coding for them. In fact, many medical institutions hire their own coders and billing agents.

In conclusion, medical billing and coding is a very fast growing field and because of this there are many scams aimed at people looking to join this field. It is better to err on the side of caution than become a victim of scammers.

To be cautious, you need to avoid quick schemes that promise course completion in less than 6 months, promise you will work from home fresh out of school or can open your individual billing and coding program. Finally, avoid any school that is not accredited because it will be a waste of time and money.

If you are interested in working from home for yourself, I can show you how for free. Yes keep that credit card as far away as you can and check out my # 1 recommendation for work from home opportunities. If you don’t like it just opt out.

Thank you for reading , sharing is caring so don’t be stingy. Go ahead and share this post with your friends and don’t forget to leave a comment!

Cheers Denise

9 comments

  1. I have always wondered about what medical billing and coding was about, I always see ads about it. I specifically like this post because it simply explains what it it, training involved and red flags to look out for without being to long, wordy or boring. It also kept me interested in exploring other posts and pages as well. The only thing I didn’t like we’re the pop ups I have always found those annoying but that’s just me.

    1. Hi Haley,
      Thanks for leaving a comment. Medical billing and coding is a very interesting and important field that is growing really fast. Scammers are taking advantage of people who want to make a future with this field. I can’t save the world but I believe I can at least try.
      Sorry about those pop ups!

  2. Thank you very much for creating this post. I think one of the most deplorable things that a scam artist can do is make a rip off of someone’s desire to better educate themselves. That’s just about the lowest of the low.

    Your page is very nicely laid out, and I like that you added quite a lot of images and broke the article down in a way that was easy to understand. I had no idea that medical billing and coding was in such high demand!

    Thanks for the info! Looking forward to hearing more from you soon!

    1. Hi Alec,

      I couldn’t agree more. Scam people who are trying to improve on their education is terrible. As we all know, scammers have no conscience.

      If something sounds too good to be true, it is because it is probably not true. I almost fell prey to a scam before I found wealthy affiliate. It is after googling about reviews on the site that I realized it was a scam.

      Patience and the proper research will help people not fall for many scams. You just have to take a second look before you make a decision.

  3. Great website, is really amazing, your niche is very lucrative. Great article also, is really useful this information because we can ignore about those scams and can be in front of our faces, thanks for share. I’m very agree to see if the institution has an accreditation because it can be illegal or dangerous, well said. Cheers to you.

  4. Thank you for this article. People do need to be aware of the many ways schools are trying to push some through school too fast. The subject areas for this particular job take months to learn in school. I get frustrated when a school says you can have a full degree and a guaranteed job in six months. Come on, use a little common sense!

    1. Hi Calvin,

      It is truly annoying when schools make such false promises. The worst part is the fact that after graduating from these institutions you learn the bitter truth that the degree can’t transfer anywhere and in many cases you can’t use that degree to get certified. Time, energy and money wasted.

  5. It’s scary how many scams are out on the internet. I bet there are a lot of different ones related to anything in the medical field.
    How would you go about checking for a school’s accreditation? Wouldn’t it be easy enough for a scammer to falsely write on their website that they are accredited by an accrediting institution?
    Thanks for the information you are putting out there to help people from scams!
    Candace

    1. Hi Candace,

      Oh yeah the medical field is a fertile ground for scammers. People will do anything to make fast money and because of this people need to be careful not to fall for these fast schemes. To check an institution’s accreditation, you need to go to the website of the institution that offers accreditation to confirm what the school website claims.

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