How to Become a Medical Billing Advocate

If you would enjoy a medical billing career but wish to work more on the side of the patients and insurance companies getting billed for medical care, a medical billing advocate position may be ideal for you. Becoming a medical billing advocate is not very difficult and can contain the same education you would receive for a medical billing career within a medical facility. The major difference in your duties is that you won’t be billing patients and filing insurance claims, but acting as a billing consultant that looks over medical bills to ensure there aren’t any unnecessary or mistaken charges or upcoding present. Upcoding is an act that has been found to be fraudulent and consists of patients being billed for a higher level service than was actually received. This is illegal and as a medical billing advocate, you would be pointing out these errors.

Getting a Higher Education

Just like you would attend a medical coding program or related program in order to enter the medical billing specialist position, you would do the same to become a medical billing advocate. You will be responsible for learning appropriate medical terminology and appropriate codes for billing procedures. You will also be trained on the appropriate procedures for pinpointing billing errors and addressing them properly. It is a federal law that all errors must be reported by the physician to the federal regulating agencies, and you will act as the consultant that checks for these errors.

Entering Into the Position

There are many medical coding consulting agencies that offer the position to those that wish to investigate medical bills and billing procedures. Your main role will be inspection of patient bills and decoding to identify any improper charges or upcoding that have occurred. Once the issue is found, the patient as well as the physician is notified and given appropriate details for making the appropriate reporting measures to the correct agency.

Why Become a Medical Coding Advocate

In a world where health care costs are always on the rise, it is important that there are medical coding advocates to ensure that patients are only billed for the services and resources they receive and no more. You will serve as the voice for the patients, and the insurance for the insurance companies that the payments due are necessary and should have been charged. In the event that you are able to identify any type of fraud, you will be able to ensure that the issue is resolved and the patient only charged what should have been from services.

A medical billing advocate holds a key role in the health care industry with a strong influence over the future of this industry. There are organizations that go further to ensure that policies are enacted to provide security to patients from medical billing fraud. Patients may not be able to decipher medical code, so it is up to you to ensure that there haven’t been any mischarged items on a patient’s bill or insurance claim.

Hospital Forgives Medical Debt For 90 Year Old

A Colorado hospital forgave over $21,000 in medical debt for a local 90 year resident. Despite all the stories we hear bashing health care providers, a story where a hospital shows compassion is a welcome change of pace.

My client, Liz, owed a local hospital for services received in 2008 as a result of an accident. Liz was not eligible for Medicare, and had private insurance. After admittance to the hospital on an emergency basis, she remained there for rehabilitation treatment. Her claims were paid at out of network level, leaving her with significant balances owed. While she made small monthly payments, she never really understood why she owed all that she did and how she got into this mess.

Liz had no family to help her and lives in downtown Denver. When she called me, she pleaded with me to come down to Denver and meet with her to help her, as she was very confused about all of her medical bills. I made the trip from Loveland to Denver and sat down with her at a local McDonald’s restaurant (she told me her kitchen table in her apartment was not big enough to spread out the papers). She entered the restaurant very slowly, using a wheeled walker. As I spoke with her and looked through all of the piles of bills, I was amazed at how bright and sharp and intelligent her blue eyes were, as she seemed to understand most of what I was saying, and was able to intelligently answer my questions. Needless to say, I was impressed with her and I certainly felt compassion for her circumstances. She wanted to do what was right, and pay her fair share, but the weight of these large bills were more than she could handle.

I wrote a well thought out letter to the hospital, petitioning them to forgive Liz’s debt, and providing a rationale for why I felt that they do this. The amazing thing: I received a prompt reply from them. They agreed to bring all of her accounts out of collection, and reduce them to a zero balance, for both the hospital and for the physicians amounts owed.

What a wonderful outcome and phone call it was for me to call Liz and inform her of this great news. Imagine her relief to no longer have this burden. And, it is encouraging that the hospital administration truly do have a heart.

Medical Bill Help: Compare Healthcare Costs Before Proceeding With Treatment

The costs of medical and health care services have been rising steadily for many years, and American consumers are feeling the pinch in a big way. Many American individuals and families are now facing extremely high medical debts, some of them for fairly routine or minor health care procedures or treatments. With the private insurance system looking to offset costs, and very little in the way of a safety net for consumers, medical bankruptcy threatens many thousands of families each year.

Now, medical advocates are telling American patients to go a step further than many of them are accustomed to: new guidelines from experts in the industry suggest that consumers should be asking medical providers about how much a certain procedure, treatment or even a consultation may cost before they ever step in the door of the medical office.

Barriers to Asking Questions About Healthcare Services

In prior times, most patients were not used to asking their doctors what something would cost – there was a kind of intuitive understanding that since medical care is something that nobody wants to skimp on, it’s not a situation where prices can be negotiated. Over time, that led up to a system where insurance plans, largely those provided by group employers, covered major costs, leaving a patient with a straightforward co-pay or deductible that would represent their total financial responsibility.

These days, even a group plan doesn’t protect the average consumer from receiving extremely expensive medical bills after getting nearly any kind of health care service. Larger co-pays, larger deductibles and co-insurance mean looming costs for many Americans as medical costs continue to skyrocket and other issues like deceptive out of network charging leave many patients with much more debt than they thought they were going to incur when they arrived at a hospital or other facility.

Can Americans Shop for Health Care?

What new reports are showing is that the best way to shop around for health care is to ask your insurance company. Most of the efforts at cataloging the various rates that different providers charge for services are done by big insurers like CIGNA, Anthem Blue Cross, and other multi-state insurance companies. Patients can also ask their insurance company which providers have a contractual plan that forces them to charge a certain set price for a given medical service.

Over time, this trend will probably continue, to the point where American patients routinely ask their insurance company to help them shop. For most enrolled members, the insurance company has a vested interest in that person getting the cheapest medical care possible. While these kinds of partnerships between private insurers and individual patients can help both parties to rack up less medical debt for the same kinds of treatments and procedures, there’s also a great need for more patient education, where consumer advocates are standing in for states and the federal government when it comes to providing fixes for a problem that is challenging the majority of American families today.