Medical coding and billing programs prepare people to work in medical billing offices. Students learn to code and enter data on insurance forms. They also learn about medical terms, anatomy, and treatment plans.
Now that medical care is so expensive, it's hard to get by without health insurance. And that means every time you go to the doctor or a hospital, a lot of paperwork is generated so that the HMO can pay the bills. People are needed in doctors' offices and hospitals to ride herd on the billing process.
The paper trail serves other purposes, too. For example, it contributes to statistics on the state of health in your community. All of these results depend on accurate information about you, your medical condition, and the treatment you receive. So all of this information must be coded as data, and there is a great need for people to do the coding.
To do this work, it is vital that you understand medical terminology. So you study the structures and functions of the human body. You become familiar with various diseases and disorders. You learn about procedures that doctors perform and drugs they prescribe. You study the major systems by which health information is coded.
You also learn how a medical office runs. You learn about the various business functions and the computer software packages that facilitate the processes. You may need to improve your keyboard skills. You study the laws that safeguard information about patients, and other laws that apply to healthcare.
A training program in medical coding and billing usually takes about two years of full-time study. Several community colleges offer such a program; so do many proprietary schools.