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Medical Billing

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  Medical Billing business.

  Business Overview

  Medical billing is one of the hottest businesses going these days -- and with good reason. Thanks to the new baby boomlet and the increasing longevity of those of us already well into adulthood, more and more Americans are swelling the ranks of health-care seekers. And people are more health-conscious than ever before. Couple these points with the fact that doctors and other health-care providers are finding it increasingly difficult to earn a living from their services. Medicare, private insurance companies, and health-care groups such as HMOs have all seemingly conspired to make billing -- and getting paid -- a nightmare.    But if you have a medical or dental background and you like working with computers, then you can save the day with a medical billing service. You'll enter patients' charges into your specially designed software, then send these bills (or claims) to insurance companies via electronic data processing, the same type of system that sends your credit card information from the department store or gas station to the bank.
  Some medical billing services offer 'one-stop shopping,' expanding their services to include handling all aspects of the doctor's billing, including charging and collecting from uninsured patients and collecting old debts.    Medical claims that are filed electronically are processed twice as fast as claims that are mailed to the insurer, so doctors get paid faster and more accurately. And with your billing expertise, you can quickly solve problems -- like rejected claims -- that may arise.
  The advantages to this business are that you can work at home, you can start part-time, the field is poised for greater growth as the years go by, and if you enjoy problem-solving in general and the medical field in particular, then this can be a lucrative and rewarding business.    You should have a solid working knowledge of the medical or dental fields -- you'll have the awareness of terminology and procedures to take you to the top in a hurry. If you don't have this knowledge and experience, you can still succeed in medical billing, but the road will be much more difficult. You'll also need strong organizational and time-management skills.

  The Market

  Your clients can be any health-care providers you care to target -- doctors of every specialty, dentists, oral surgeons, podiatrists, psychologists, ambulance services, pharmacists, prosthetics providers and nursing homes. You'll do best to start off with the specialty you know -- if you've worked in a cardiology office, start by selling your services to cardiologists.     Send letters and brochures to providers you've targeted. Follow up with phone calls requesting appointments. You may have to work hard to get your first client, but persistence pays off. Once you get that first provider, word-of-mouth will help speed your marketing efforts.

  Needed Equipment

  You'll need a computer system with a laser printer, a fax machine, medical billing software, and an arrangement with an electronic clearinghouse, which checks your billings for errors, then forwards them to insurers. You should also have a car for picking up clients' billing materials, but this is not a must. Some medical billers have their clients fax everything to their home offices.
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