Preparing for a Medical Billing and Coding Job Interview

Medical billing and coding is a great profession for people who want to work in the health industry, like to file paperwork, and enjoy daily challenges. The job involves interaction with insurance companies, doctors, nurses, patients, and other health professionals to ensure all medical billing and coding is completed properly.

When a candidate prepares for a medical billing and coding job interview, there are a number of things to know. The most important thing to bring to the interview is your knowledge. You should have a good background in medical billing and coding from both prior work experience and/or vocational classes in medical billing and coding.

Dress for Success

Professional attire is the best thing to wear to a formal interview. Like most jobs, the interview is held in a professional workplace. A medical billing and coding job will usually be done within a health care setting, like a clinic or doctor’s office. The candidate may often be working alone and will occasionally need to interact with health care professionals, patients, and insurance companies.

Knowledge of Electronic Medical Records

The health care industry is becoming more reliant on electronic medical records. EMRs have a number of advantages over paper records. They’re easier to organize and navigate, faster to process, and reduce the overall amount of human error involved. Many different types of software are being developed to help medical billers do their job.

At the same time, many employers are looking for employees who have a strong background in paper processing, as well. This is especially important as health records are being transferred from a paper to electronic format. A candidate should be familiar with the term EHR, for electronic health records, and EMR for electronic medical records.

These questions may come up during a medical billing and coding job interview.

  • Do you have a current employer who uses EHR or EMR records?
  • What is your past work experience with EMR?
  • What did you learn about EMR during your vocational classes?
  • What past experience do you have working with computers?
  • Have you used Medisoft, Harris CareTracker, Epic, or other types of software programs?
  • What version of your program are you currently using?
  • Do you have any experience working with EMR claims clearinghouses?

Knowledge of Specific Practices

A candidate should do research on the medical practice beforehand. Different medical practices will have different, specific needs for medical billers. It’s important that the candidate be prepared to answer questions that have been specifically tailored to the particular medical practice.

For example, a candidate might be asked about specific insurance companies if these companies are commonly used by the patients. Candidates may also be asked about their experience with coding and billing some of the most typical procedures performed by the practice.

Common questions asked during this section of the job interview might include these.

  • Have you ever billed this particular insurance program or Medicare?
  • Which insurance companies have you worked with and billed?
  • What forms are you most familiar with using?
  • What forms have you used most often in past employment or during vocational classes?
  • What procedures are you most familiar with for medical billing and coding?

If possible, candidates should find out everything they can about the medical practice’s billing needs and commonly used insurance companies before the interview.

Knowledge About Medical Terminology

It’s also very important that the candidate be familiar with different medical terminology. There are certain employers who will quiz prospective employees on their knowledge of coding and terminology before they commit to a full hire.

For first-time coding candidates, it’s especially important for them to be familiar with medical terms. Their knowledge of coding particulars is what will make up for their lack of past hands-on experience.

Some job interviews might include direct questions regarding medical terminology. Be ready to give answers.

  • What classes have you taken regarding medical terminology?
  • Do you know what ICD, CPT, and HCPCS are?
  • Do you know medical terminology related to our specific practice?

Common Questions to Expect About Hard Skills

A good deal of the job interviewing process will be related to a candidate’s hard skills. The interviewer wants to make sure you can file claims in a reasonable time frame with as much accuracy as possible.

The rules about health insurance go through daily changes, which means candidates will receive assessments regarding how well they can keep up. Employers want to be certain candidates are up-to-date because outdated billing practices are incorrect billing practices.

The first meeting with an interviewer will probably not involve in-depth scenarios. However, candidates should be prepared for potential scenarios if they are called back for a second or third interview. An employer might ask candidates for an explanation of how they would handle a claim that was denied.

Medical billing job interviews might include hard skill questions.

  • Are you certified in medical billing?
  • If you don’t have your certification yet, do you have plans to become certified? Has the certification process started yet?
  • What methods do you use to keep track of changes in health care and insurance coverage?
  • How long will it typically take you to process patient claims or visits spanning one day?

The industry standard deadline for medical billers to submit claims is two days or less. This helps billers keep up with the workload and ensure insurance companies are billed and claims are resolved in a timely manner.

Common Questions to Expect About Soft Skills

A medical billing career is unique when it comes to the combination of soft skills that are required. Medical billers should be confident enough to challenge claim denials. They should also be flexible, patient, and able to diffuse the emotions of patients.

A medical biller is the mediator between patients and their insurance companies. As such, they need to be skilled in handling both sides of the billing interaction.

Employers will explore a candidate’s knowledge of emotional characteristics with behavioral questions. Here are some job interview questions that might be posed.

  • What was the last claim you handled that was denied? How was it resolved? What were the steps you went through to resolve the issue?
  • Everyone has to deal with a denied claim at some point. What strategies and processes would you use for your appeals?
  • What is the most hostile case you’ve ever had with patient collection? Was payment eventually negotiated? What was the main problem you were facing?
  • Have you ever experienced an insurance company’s playing games in an effort to avoid paying a claim?

Candidates should have answers to these questions practiced and planned ahead of time. They should be able to describe a range of different scenarios they’ve dealt with, along with the problem solving they used for them. These skills demonstrate that they are adaptable enough to cope with daily challenges from both insurance companies and patients.

Final Thoughts

When you have your medical billing and coding interview, your knowledge is the most important aspect. Make sure you’re familiar with different features of the industry. Interviewers will want to see that you can adapt to fit a changing work environment. They’ll want to know that you can keep up with your work and handle whatever software they use.

Interested in learning more about the role of a medical biller? Are you ready for a rewarding career as a medical biller?

The Medical Billing Specialist program at Hunter Business School on Long Island prepares billing and coding students to obtain entry-level employment specializing in medically related billing and coding in physicians’ offices, clinics, medical insurance companies, and hospitals. The Medical Billing Specialist program is a three-month diploma program available evenings.

Contact us today to find out more about how to become a medical biller on Long Island.

To access information on our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other consumer data regarding programs leading to gainful employment at Hunter Business School, please visit Consumer Information.