Working from home and being paid well for it is a goal of many individuals. While searching out ways to accomplish this goal many have stumbled upon a niche field in medical administration called “medical coding”.
Medical coding positions are present in hospitals, physician offices, insurance companies, home health agencies, and just about anywhere medical services are being provided and billed for. In addition to traditional hourly employment in this field there are also a number of opportunities to do this type of work from the comfort of your own home.
A standard, hourly, medical coding job is what is usually advertised in the classifieds and help wanted ads. These positions usually require individuals to be present at a specific location, punch a time clock, etc. Employees are usually paid at an hourly rate and receive benefits such as paid vacation, health insurance, and paid holidays.
In contrast, most work from home medical coding jobs are contract positions. This means that a larger company who has multiple clients farm out the work into smaller portions on an individual basis. Individual medical coders who are awarded a portion of this work are called independent contractors and are considered self employed.
Most often an independent contractor will agree to receive a specified amount of work each week, code it within a specific time frame, maintain a certain accuracy standard, and in return are usually paid on a “per. chart coded” basis. While such positions usually do not include benefits such as paid vacation, medical insurance, and paid holidays it does offer an extremely flexible schedule and the ability to work from home, which saves on travel, attire, and other related expenses.
An independent contractor can expect companies that award coding contracts to provide the work and coding software while they will be responsible for providing the computer hardware, internet connection, and medical coding books. Independent contractors are also responsible for withholding their own taxes since their payments are made on their gross earnings. At year end individuals will receive a 10-99 instead of a W-2 and will need to file schedule 1040. This can also be a benefit since work related expenses such as coding books, internet, computer, etc. can be considered a tax deduction.
Most independent contraction positions are available for a specific specialty, such as pediatrics, emergency medicine, or dermatology. These positions normally require that contractors hold either a CPC or CCS coding credential and have a minimum of three years of coding within their specialty.
Each coding specialty has its own bar rate and standard pay rate. These are important to know when discussing a contract. For example, when coding emergency medicine the standard bar rate 25 charts an hour and the average pay rate is between.65 and.75 cents per. chart for professional coding. Based on these numbers and an average work week of 40 hours (for full time) or 20 hours (for part time) an independent contractor can choose the number of charts to contract for each week …