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Does It Fit the Bill?

Here's how to tell if medical billing is a viable business opportunity for you.

By
This story appears in the May 2007 issue of Start Up.

Question: I've heard that medical billing is a growing area for entrepreneurs. Do you think it's still hot?



Answer: Although an estimated 6 out of 10 medical offices have switched to software that enables them to handle billing internally, medical billing is still outsourced and thus can be a rewarding home business. But it won't work everywhere. Many doctors want to keep their billing in-house or at a nearby billing service. So one way to predict whether you should start a medical billing business is to determine how many doctors and existing billing services are nearby.

Merlin Coslick, founder of the Electronic Medical Billing Network of America, explains how to gauge the market: "A 10-square-mile area with 1,000 doctors will support two to three medical billing services." He advises counting the companies listed under "Billing" and "Insurance Claim Services" in your local Yellow Pages and dividing the number by four. Only 1 in 4 of these will be competitors. The others will be closed down or have all the clients they can handle.

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