How to Start a Medical Billing Business
If you’re thinking of starting your own medical billing business, it’s important you know exactly what you’ll need to do in order to get started. While billing and coding is an excellent career choice, you should beware of advertisements that guarantee a fast and lucrative business you can start from scratch with no prior experience. In reality, you should have your billing and coding degree, certification, and a few years of experience in the field before you consider such a venture. If you’ve been on the job for a while and have made some contacts and feel you are ready, here are the basics of how to start a medical billing business.
Six Steps to a Medical Billing Business
Your first step should be writing a business plan. While you may think you know exactly what to do with your business, a business plan gives you a solid foundation and will also be necessary if you decide to get a loan for seed money to start your business. A business plan will let you see exactly how much a billing and coding business will cost to launch, and it’ll also allow you to set realistic goals and a viable strategy to reach them.
You’ll also need to register your business with the county you live in, and get a business license if it’s required in your state.
You’ll need to decide where your business will be located. While many people think working at home is ideal, in reality you’ll need a separate room to work from. Billing and coding is confidential information, so you’ll need to be able to secure all of your work so it stays safe. You’ll also need to be able to shut out all distractions, so if you have a family you’ll need to be able to set boundaries.
If you decide to lease office space, you’ll need to figure out the cost of lease as well as utilities and insurance. Both settings will require basic office equipment such as a desk, chair, filing system, computer, printer, and office supplies.
3. Medical Billing and Coding Software
Perhaps your biggest investment will be purchasing software. Billing and coding requires specific programs, so you need to be sure you have the correct industry approved software. You should determine what programs your prospective clientele base uses so your business is in sync with the physicians and insurance companies you’ll be working for.
4. Establishing Your Client Base
The biggest hurdle in starting a medical billing business is establishing your regular clientele. If you’ve worked for the same physician or clinic for several years you may be able to transfer that work to your own business. Large hospitals and other medical facilities usually outsource their billing to large specialty corporations so cold-calling physicians who aren’t familiar with you is difficult.
Your best bet is to network with the medical community you already know while you’re gathering experience, and set up some clients ahead of your business launch date. Your billing and coding business should be able to grow by referral once you’ve opened your doors, but when you’re starting out you’ll need to network and promote yourself. This is where your experience will pay for itself!
You can also choose to focus your business on a specific area of clientele, such as chiropractors or dentists. If you have advanced certification for billing and coding in a specialty area, you’ll be in higher demand than by looking for any medical clientele in general.
You don’t have to stick with doing actual billing and coding only. Many in the field who want to know how to start a medical billing business do so with the intention of having a consulting business. You could focus your business on providing professional advice on issues faced by the medical community in their billing and coding area, perform audits of their systems or work researching code methodology within your client’s office or clinic.
6. Work Hard
Running your own business isn’t just a matter of knowing how to get started. You can expect to put in many more hours than you would in a nine-to-five job, and you’ll have to deal with a million other details besides the actual billing and coding duties. You’ll have to pay your own taxes and social security as well as save retirement funds, and you’ll be responsible for paying the bills and keeping your insurance up to date.
Other tasks you may not have considered include cleaning your office, fielding phone calls and interacting with clients and insurance companies who have questions. If you are great at multitasking and don’t mind giving up your nights and weekends while building your business, you could be a great candidate for a successful billing and coding business.
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