The healthcare system in the USA cannot operate without medical coding and billing.
Medical coding and medical billing are actually separate functions, require certification in most cases, and can be performed by a single person.
If you want to become a specialist for this occupation in Alaska, read on!
Article Table of Contents
What is Medical Coding?
Within the medical field, various illnesses, procedures, and even medications can receive a shorter name or even a code.
This is generally done when collecting the information written in medical charts, generally done for data analysis.
This information, however, can be used for a variety of purposes, such as helping medical staff receive payment for their services.
There are 3 main sets of code:
Medical coders must be able to navigate these sets of code with ease, to be able to perform their duties well.
Additionally, in Alaska, those who want to work in this field need to be most familiar with CPT, ICD-10-CMN, and HCPCS Level II coding.
Specialized training programs will help future medical coders to:
- Navigate medical terminology
- Know the organization of the codes
- Know the specific way in which the code is used
What is Medical Billing?
As mentioned before, medical personnel need to get paid for their services, and this is done through the bills issued.
Bills also help the patients to pay for the medical procedures they received.
To make the process easier, specialized personnel, called medical billers, are employed.
These individuals need to know the insurance system, the way it operates, and which processes can affect it.
All this knowledge includes being familiar with specific terminology and methods of creating invoices.
Getting the Appropriate Education and Certification
The first thing to remember is that if you want to work in this niche, you’ll need a certification.
This is issued to those passing the APPC’s coding certification exam, which can be taken after graduating from the appropriate training program.
To enroll in such a program, you’ll need a high school diploma, though a GED can also be acceptable.
While you may pursue a program for an associate or a bachelor’s degree, these are not mandatory.
What you need to know is that AAPC is the medical coding and medical billing training and certification association with national recognition.
Most employers will only hire individuals that have certification in either coding or billing, though both certifications might be better in some instances.
If you’re wondering for how long you have to train before you can get certified, you should know that training programs last less than a year.
The certifications you can obtain are:
- CPB: This diploma is needed by those who want to become medical billers
- CPC: This diploma is needed by those who want to become medical coders
The certifications were invented by AAPC and they also offer training classes for those interested.
You might want to look into other institutions as well, especially if you want to have more options when searching for a position or consider developing a career.
School Name Address ALASKA CAREER COLLEGE 1415 E Tudor Road
Anchorage, AK ILISAGVIK COLLEGE Narl Facility
Barrow, AK UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA 3211 Providence Drive
Anchorage, AK UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA 505 South Chandalar Drive
Do know that with some institutions it’s possible to attend classes online as well, even for medical coding and billing.
Make sure that you can ask for help from the school when it comes to job hunting, once you graduate, even for this field.
Unlike most other states across the nation, Alaska has fewer cities and this means lower job opportunities for medical billers and coders.
Most of the jobs for these professionals can be found in Anchorage.
However, salaries are higher when compared to many other states.
Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary Anchorage $42,644 Juneau $42,226 Fairbanks $42,567 Wasilla $42,069 Sitka $41,652 Ketchikan $41,652 Kenai $42,069 Palmer $42,069 Bethel $42,069 Kodiak $42,069
Where to Find Employment
The largest employers for medical coders and billers in Alaska are:
- Alaska Regional Hospital
- Advanced Pain Centers of Alaska:
- Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium: