Have I Chosen a Stable Business?

No worries-medical billing is still a viable business.
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This story appears in the April 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Q: I'm taking a course on medical billing. Is this still a good business?

Name withheld

A: We've included medical billing as a "best business" since the first edition of our book The Best Home Businesses for the 90s (J.P. Tarcher) came out, despite the harm done to this field by business opportunities that promised more than they could deliver to prepare people to do medical billing. Experts estimate 30 percent of doctor's offices and other medical providers contract out their billing.

The homebased medical biller needs to think of his or her market as smaller practices and medical providers that seek payment for services to their patients from third parties. These include chiropractors, dentists and psychologists.

A small office often has difficulty keeping and training an employee to do its billing accurately. Thus, independent medical billers have more expertise than employees with a variety of office duties. Outside medical billers should be able to increase the revenue of their clients while reducing their overhead.

Medical billers must understand the security and privacy standards for handling medical data provided for in the Health Insurance Portability and Ac-countability Act of 1996. These standards change, so you must be up-to-date. For more information regarding new devel-opments in medical billing, check out the National Electronic Billers Alliance Web site at www.nebazone.com.

For more, read Entrepreneur magazine's Start-Up Guide #1345, How to Start a Medical Claims Billing Service (www.smallbizbooks.com).

Authors and career coaches Paul and Sarah Edwards have written 15 books, including Working From Home. Send your questions to www.workingfromhome.com or in care of Entrepreneur.

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