I get asked a lot – “How much money can I make with a Medical Billing business?” I guess they've see all those hokey “business opportunity” adds and ask for my take since I operate a business from home.
My answer - That’s pretty much up to you. “What are you willing to put into it?”
I know people such as myself who have a few doctors, run their business from home, and make a comfortable income – from $1500 to more than $5000 a month. There are others who have a nice office with several employees and make over six figures. As with any business, it’s pretty much what you make of it.
There's a market for a good medical billing business. Open any phone book and look at the number of physicians listed.
Now look at the number of billing services listed.
Granted not every practice outsources their billing but as you can see from the numbers there's a great opportunity there.
Believe it or not there are still practices who file claims by paper. These are usually smaller practices with older providers. If they only understood how much faster they could get paid by submitting electronically.
Smaller practices usually don't or aren't willing to pay very well for a medical biller. This usually leads to less than enthusiastic employees who have no incentive to make sure claims are getting paid and patients billed promptly. We saw the revenue for one of our clients increase by over 32% once we assumed the billing. This is just from following good thorough billing practices.
Most physicians don't realize that outsourcing the medical billing to a reputable and competent service will significantly increase their revenue and pay for the billing service many times over.
As a medical billing business owner I find that I must constantly "sell" the benefits of a billing service to skeptical providers. Once they see the numbers they understand. Just like the service they perform for their patient's, we as medical billers provide the same value to providers.
Starting A Medical Billing Business
Starting a medical billing business is one of the best ideas for a home based business. Find out the what it takes to start a successful and profitable business.
Knowledge, Skills, and Training
In general the more education you have, the more your options to offer additional services to clients - and generate additional revenue. If you're experienced certified in coding, that's another service you can provide. That being said the amount of training you need to operate a successful medical billing business is not that extensive.
You really need a good understanding of the insurance billing process, how a doctor's office operates, compliance issues, good administrative skills, perseverance, attention to detail, and medical terminology. I'm a good example of that with no formal education. When you are good at what you do, people will beat a path to your door. Clients will pay for quality.
Keys To a Successful Medical Billing Business
Have A Plan
A business plan is like a road map to successfully starting a medical bulling business. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate. When starting a business, it's important to plan what you're going to do and how you are going to do it. Learn what a business plan is and what it should include.
Keep Your Clients Happy
There's no substitute for a satisfied client. Excellent customer service and performance will keep your clients happy. I always send a gift to our clients around the holidays to express my appreciation. Word of mouth referrals are one of the best ways to get new clients. Consider offering a discount or reward when someone your client refers signs on. If your clients get forgetful, gracefully remind them the value you add and how much their revenue has improved since you've been handling the billing.
Continuously Market Your Business
One thing I've learned is you must continuously market your medical billing business services. When you are just getting started, most of your job is marketing.
Marketing is critical to maintaining and growing your business. Consider it a part of normal operating costs and effort. Just like other service businesses, there is turnover. Doctor’s retire, die, combine with other practices, quit, change services, and decide to bring their billing back in house – you name it. So it’s important to always get your company’s name out there.
I've found some great economical marketing resources here for successfully marketing your medical billing business.
Can a medical billing and coding business be operated from home. What to consider in operating a business out of your home. Learn from my personal experiences.
Challenges Operating a Billing Service
This is my rant on the challenges of operating a physicians billing service. This billing services owner shares her thoughts on the demands and challenges in working with doctors and their medical office staff.
Medical Billing and Coding Companies
How a practice’s financial existence is dependent on a competent Medical Billing and Coding Company. Observations of a medical billing and coding service business owner. How medical billing services operate and what kind of services they provide
Contracts – Get It In Writing
When you land your first client, you'll need a contract. Learn what to include in the contract. Download a free sample contract.
Selecting the Best Software
Make sure your practice management software can grow with your medical billing business. PC based, client/server, or web based software - what to consider when making one of the biggest purchases for your business. What to look for when selecting a Clearinghouse.
Establish a Compliance Program
With the introduction of HIPAA, having an effective and realistic compliance program makes good business sense. Being up to date and knowledgeable on trends and regulatory guidelines and requirements is also a great marketing advantage. Most office managers don't have time to keep up with all this. With the federal government getting increasing involved in healthcare, there's always a new regulation or requirement that effects the industry.
Sometimes when providing a professional service, unintentional errors or omissions can occur. When a provider relies on your expertise, your business is liable for mistakes - just like a physician is with a patient. This is becoming even more important as the popularity of outsourcing services increases.
The best protection for this is professional liability or Errors and Omission (E&O) insurance. This protects against losses due to negligence, omissions, or errors. In the event of a costly problem, this can cover damages and legal costs. Some clients may even require insurance as part of the contract.
Your local insurance agent should be able to offer an affordable errors and omissions policy.
Fees and Services
Determine what services to offer and how you will price them. Don't set your fee until you estimate your costs. Learn typical fees and pricing strategies for a profitable business.
Maintain Good Reference Material
One of the best compilations of material for starting a Medical Billing Business for the money is Medical Billing Home Business in a Box!. This is complete collection of books and materials created by a mother daughter team who have over 15 years experience operating a successful medical billing business. I only wish these were available when I was getting started!
There's other helpful books on starting, operating, and marketing a medical billing business - as well as reference I found useful on our Medical Billing Books page.
Promote Your Business With a Web Site (That Earns Money)
This is really an extension of marketing but I thought it important enough to list on it's own.
Most people these days don’t even bother thumbing through a phone book. They just do a Google search. Site Build It (SBI) is a great resource for marketing a service such as a medical billing business. You can also make money with your site with Google AdSense and affiliates, or selling e-goods. I built this site using SBI after using one of those low cost web hosts. I learned there’s more to getting people to find your site than just putting it out there.
The tools and forums they provide are worth the cost alone. The cool thing about SBI is you can build a site about what you know something about – like I did. SBI has tools like Brainstormer that help you build a site that will get traffic. A web site is a great tool for local business owners that allows you to create a web site that promotes their business and generates income. Here's some great examples of Site Build It success stories.
Medical Billing Business as a Retirement Job
If you're looking for a enjoyable retirement job, a medical billing business is a great entrepreneur online job option. It offers the flexibility of working your own part time or full time schedule depending on your needs.
I found a great web site - Enjoy Retirement Jobs- that's dedicated to finding retirement jobs and living life to the fullest. Enjoy-Retirement-Jobs.com encourages visitors to find happiness with their ideal retirement jobs, both paid and unpaid, by following their passion. The site covers retirement planning, cash gifting, traditional jobs search, entrepreneur jobs, online ideas, building websites, connecting with family, and hobbies and education.
Think Long Term for Your Medical Billing Business
One of the first practices I signed was a specialty practice. I agreed to a lower rate just to get the experience and prove myself. They had been using a billing service and were not happy with them.
My philosophy was to use this as a training opportunity to learn about billing for this particular specialty. I was in this business for the long term and know if I proved my services valuable, asking for a higher rate would not be a problem. The fee I charged basically just covered my expenses but it was a great training opportunity.
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