Is the tuition cost of learning medical billing and coding holding you back? If YES, here are 7 best places to learn medical billing and coding for free.
Medical billing and coding is one very important part of our health care system. This is because medical billers and coders are the ones responsible for ensuring that private and federal insurance providers reimburse services offered by medical facilities.
Medical coders work with standardized healthcare coding systems used for billing of patient services and procedures. These professionals work in all areas of healthcare but they most frequently work with doctors’ offices and hospitals.
To become a medical biller and coder requires extensive training because of the technicalities involved in the job. The ideal candidate is required to get trained enough to be able to sit and pass the certification examination in order to become certified. It is a fact that quite a lot of employers would require you to be certified as a medical biller and coder before you are deemed employable.
What Does It Cost to Get Trained as a Medical Biller and Coder?
Training to become a medical biller and coder is very expensive, and for some, the cost can be prohibitive. Typical costs for training to become a medical biller and coder in the united states, both online and offline, are thus:
- Certified online medical billing courses can go for as much as from $1,000 to $4,000.
- American Association of Medical Coders offers an online standard certified professional coder preparation course for $1,495. Career Step, an online medical training center, packages two medical coding and billing programs that cost $2,095-$2,495.
- In-person medical coder certificate preparation programs offered at technical schools and community colleges cost from $2,500 to $12,000 depending on the residency status of the student. Tuition for the medical coder certificate program at St. Petersburg College, in Florida, is $3,196 for residents and $11,594 for non-residents.
- The associate degree programs offered in some schools that offer medical billing and coding take 18 months to two years to complete. These programs can cost you anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000.
- Colorado Technical University has a health administration services degree program that costs $27,260 and it can be completed in 18 months.
How You Can Learn Medical Billing and Coding for Free
The costs mentioned above goes to show that learning medical billing and coding can be a very expensive venture, even if you choose to learn it online; and most professionals usually advise students to get their training in an offline location.
For this reason, people who want to become medical billers and coders but do not have the funds to get the training and certification usually look for institutions offering free courses, both offline and online. But it is sad to say here that there is no such thing as a completely free medical billing and coding training program.
For one, some websites tout the fact that they offer free medical billing and coding courses, but in the actual fact, they only get to offer some free courses that would not teach you the basics of medical billing and coding, just the periphery. Those ones at the end of the day may equally ask you to pay for some materials for you to get the complete course.
While it may seem that you cannot learn medical billing and coding for free, but they are ways you can help yourself get trained for free. Some if these ways may include;
7 Best Places to Learn Medical Billing and Coding for FREE
This is a website that focuses on preparing student to take the medical billing and coding certification exams and pass them easily. This website offers free stuff such as courses, exam questions, job aid tools, hand outs and reports, etc. You should note however that the website in no way offers free medical billing and coding training. They just offer students some freebies that can help them with their certificat exams.
This is another website that focuses on medical billing and coding training. This website offers courses that covers the important concepts of medical billing and coding in a practical, straight-forward manner. The online course material from the fundamentals course includes important medical billing and coding topics, and they also offer you free training videos that can get over an hour.
All Things Medical Billing is a comprehensive source for healthcare billing and related topics. The vision of this site is to create a helpful and informative resource for billing and coding related topics.
Whether you are looking for billing or coding info, considering a career in the field, or trying to see if its a viable work from home occupation, you would find some viable and reliable information regarding to what you have in mind.
The website also offers free Medical Billing Terms, Medical Billing and Coding Careers Guide, and Medical Billing Books page, which has links to several affordable individual books on the fundamentals of medical billing from reputable sources. Many of their visitors have found these to be a great economical way to learn medical billing fundamentals.
- Get paid while you are learning
One very profitable way to learn medical billing and coding for free is for you to learn it and still get paid for acquiring an education. One way you can do this is for you to get a job in the medical billing and coding field, most likely the office of a medical biller or coder.
Doing this would enable you get the necessary experience on the job. Note that since you do not have the required experience and certification, you may be paid less than the going rate, but this should not be a problem for you.
You should also keep in mind that this is a short term experience, so you have to time yourself and know when it is time to leave and start working on your certification so as to get a better paying job. If you can do everything in your current position and you would be assured of getting converted after you gain your certification, then you can consider staying put with them.
Consider opportunities at a medical billing services company, hospital or doctors office, or insurance company. Anything that gets you exposed to the field looks good on your resume. Remember your goal is getting experience – so a short term sacrifice in pay may be worth it to prove yourself and get good references.
- Learn medical billing and coding on your own
The fact remains that we can learn anything we want if only we put our minds to it. This is same with medical billing and coding. What you have to do in this regard is to research the internet for where you can get useful tips regarding to medical billing and coding.
There’s so much information from credible sources available on the internet on medical billing. You can educate yourself and find information on just about any topic. The challenge is being able to separate the credible and knowledgeable from the ones that are out to take advantage of you.
Yes, it may be quite difficult to find any in-dept information online when it comes to medical billing and coding, as some of the touted courses are inclined towards marketing and not educating. They are always trying to sell something. Yet other sites can give you so much information that you get overwhelmed because you are still trying to get trained.
If you want to learn medical coding all by your own, the first thing for you to do is to get a copy of the three essential medical coding books which are ICD, CPT, HCPCS. Next, follow a standard medical coding training syllabus to train yourself and do enough practice to master the art of coding.
Register for the CPC exam of AAPC by choosing an appropriate exam center near to you. Write your certificate exams.
- Let the industry guide you
Some of the medical billing and coding associations in the United States such as HIPAA, have a lot of information that would be useful for one trying to get trained on medical billing and coding.
There’s a tremendous amount of information about HIPAA available at The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. But trying to determine what is relevant and applicable is almost overwhelming as there are so many facets of HIPAA.
The fact remains that a lot of people and even small practices have been able to educate themselves well with the information offered on HIPAA. The American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC) also has some great info on medical billing – although their main concentration is coding.
Though medical billing and coding is not free for learners, there are however possibilities on how you can get a discount on the courses.
- For degree-based programs, such as those at junior or community colleges, financial aid is available to qualified students. Students can apply for federal financial aid online.
- Fastweb, a subsidiary of Monster, is an online search engine for scholarships and grants, and it can show you loads of grants and scholarships offered for medical billing and coding students.
- The American Health Information Management Association awards scholarships annually for students pursuing careers in health information management.
- Sarah Lincoln Bush Health System provides scholarships to medical coding students.
- American Association of Professional Coders offers discounts on membership and certification testing for students who complete AAPC training.