Freelance Medical Billing: The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

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If you are just entering the arena of medical billing and coding, you may be asking yourself a very important question: should I shoot for an office job or consider working from home?  This is a complex dilemma that involves more than just location.  There are several issues to take into account before you decide if your base of operation includes a boss across the hall or the comforts of your home office.

Choosing freelance work over the nine-to-five is never easy.  The benefits of contracting are numerous; you can work from home, set your own hours, control your work load (if you’re lucky), and charge a lot more money.  You can also take vacations whenever you want and pick and choose your clientele.  Unfortunately, there are also several possible detriments.  You will almost certainly go through periods of feast and famine since you never know where your next job is coming from (although, if you do good work, you will likely enjoy repeat business).  You will not receive a medical/dental plan, 401k, social security, paid vacations, or any of the other benefits that come with regular employment.  You will also be solely responsible for ensuring your income, which can be a bit frightening.

However, a freelance career in medical billing and coding can be a dream come true for the right individual, from recent grads to stay-at-home parents to retirees from other professions.  Whether you desire a lot of work or a little, you can do it from the comfort of your own home.  In order to take advantage, though, you will have to put in some hard work.  First, you must at least obtain certification (although you can certainly shoot for additional education).  Then you have to hustle.  Since you are the one who is looking for work, don’t expect medical offices or insurance companies to come looking for you.  As a service provider, you will have to seek out work, at least initially, either through cold calls or by answering ads.  From there, the onus is on you to provide excellent customer service, proven results, and fast turnaround.  This means that you must be a meticulous and self-motivated individual, since you will have no boss looking over your shoulder to make sure the work gets done correctly or on time. You should also consider that working on your own can get pretty lonely, so if you are a social butterfly, you may want to think twice before chaining yourself to your house.

If you cannot fulfill the demands of freelance work, then perhaps you are better suited for an office setting.  Truly, there is something to be said for working eight hours a day, five days a week, returning home each night in time to have dinner with your family, and having your weekends to yourself.  Working from home can easily turn into a 24/7 affair since there is really no level of separation (unless you implement one).  However, if you are an organized, detail-oriented, self-starter who has no problem selling yourself and your service, a career in freelance medical billing and coding may be just the profession you’ve been searching for.  At the very least, you can take a crack at being your own boss before you succumb to an office job.

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