The promise to work at home is one of the biggest draws in the medical coding field. Many find it difficult to attain the great wealth and unlimited freedom that are promised to them.
Legitimate remote medical coding jobs exist, however they are often over-promoted. This field is targeted by many who make exaggerated claims. A common scam is the offering of medical coding education and providing medical coding software (for a fee), which is claimed to "fully prepare you" to start a home based business.
The investor can be greatly harmed by this particular claim. Individuals may find themselves searching for clients, despite having a sketchy education and some software being provided. Physician will not be willing to become a customer without the proper education and/or experience, unfortunately.
One must be willing to invest their time and money into a proper education in order to succeed in any career, and then be open to taking an entry level position to gain some on the job experience.
Individuals can be fully prepared to obtain nationally recognized certification through either the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) or the American Health Information Association (AHIMA) with proper education. Individuals can take the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) certification offered by the AAPC, and the Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) certification offered by AHIMA.
These are the only two nationally recognized certifications in the medical coding field. Individuals will be required by employers to possess either the CPC or CCS credential.
After obtaining one of these two certifications, an individual must then find a job. Gaining entry to their first coding job may be one of the biggest challenges for those just starting out in this field, as two years of coding experience is the industry standard.
Individuals should consider several options when starting out. By enrolling in the AAPC's "Project X-tern" program, one can gain experience and even potentially land job opportunities, all without having to pay anything. Joining a local AAPC chapter is a great way to network with local coders who may have internal positions available for those just starting out. Front desk work in a private practice may be included in entry level positions, offering a potential transition into the coding department later on.
Individuals applying for home based medical coding positions must have some work related experience, as these positions are unsupervised. Additionally, coding from home can often be a "contract" role, wherein you are self-employed.
Coders must supply the computer, internet connection, and coding books, while companies that contract with them provide the charts to code and the software needed to complete their duties.
Contract coders are typically paid on a per-chart basis, and must maintain a high accuracy and benchmark rate. Contracts typically outline details such as the number of charts to be coded per week, the number of hours a coder is to work each week, and bench rates. Standards of accuracy must be met in order to qualify for piece rate.
Contract positions may not provide medical benefits or vacation time, but they do offer the advantage of flexible scheduling and savings on transportation and attire.
When searching for a remote medical coding job, another factor to take into account is the tax status. Individuals who are self-employed in a contract position must withhold their own taxes from each pay check. Individuals will receive a 10-99 instead of a W-2, and they will need to file a 10-44 at the end of the year. When filing this form, items such as coding books and other work supplies may be taken as a deduction.
It is important to be aware that remote medical coding jobs are not often advertised when searching for companies that offer them. Often, these positions in high demand are filled through word of mouth and referrals before they need to be advertised publicly.
Attending local AAPC chapter meetings and inquiring among the attendees is a great way for individuals to find such companies. Searching the internet for coding companies, then calling their operator or switch board and asking if they hire home based coders, can also yield good results. The AAPC forums can be a useful resource for finding answers to questions and locating companies.
Searching for phrases such as "remote medical coding jobs" and "independent contracting medical coding jobs" will yield more results than internet search phrases such as "work at home medical coding jobs" and "home based medical coding jobs".