Start your new career in medical billing and coding in as little as nine months. In Penn Foster's Medical Billing and Coding online program, you'll complete real-world examples of coding, as well as learn how to manage records and file claims, prepare insurance forms, and handle billing for clinics, doctors' offices, or private billing services.
Our medical billing online courses also include updated content on both ICD-9 and ICD-10 coding. We'll help you succeed with expert instruction from dedicated faculty members with real-world experience. And Penn Foster's flexible online format allows you to train at home, on the go, all at the pace that's right for you.
This accredited program provides everything you'll need to prepare for a better future – including preparation for the AHIMA and AAPC certification exams, and a free AAPC membership – all at a fraction of the cost of other schools. If you hope to seek medical billing and coding certification and join a field that is expected to grow by 22% in the next few years, Penn Foster is the place to start.¹
Program Goal and Outcomes
To prepare students for an entry-level career as a medical coder.
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:
- Comprehend and apply CPT, ICD-9, ICD-10, and HCPCS coding guidelines to identify diagnoses, procedures, and patient medical records
- Identify the procedures for patient record retrieval and reimbursement
- Explain the role of a medical coder as a liaison between the health clinician and billing offices
- Apply computer and information literacy skills, and use electronic medical software
- Identify terms, facts, methods, procedures, concepts, theories, principles, and processes within medical coding and billing scenarios
- Recognize relationships among data and classify items within medical coding and billing scenarios
- Understand laws and theories, including issues relating to ethics and confidentiality
- Calculate solutions to mathematical problems related to reimbursement and medical mathematics
- Interpret and evaluate information to make proper coding decisions
- Review basic written and workplace communication skills
Starting Your Program
Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.
- Understand how to use your Student Portal, including your My Homepage and My Courses pages.
- Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
- Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
Introduction to Allied Health
This course gives an introduction to health care, the health information management industry, and the role that health information technicians play in that industry.
- Describe reimbursement systems and the role health information management technicians play in reimbursement.
- Describe how technology is used in health information management.
- Discuss different professional organizations and certifications for health information management technicians.
- Explain the different roles, opportunities, and settings for health information management technicians.
Law, Ethics, and Confidentiality
In this course, you’ll learn how law affects medical offices, the origin of law that affects medical professionals, the basics of the process of litigation and its alternatives, the common-law basis for the confidentiality of health-care information, and the laws regulating health-care information collected and maintained by government agencies.
- Describe civil and criminal law, sources of law, and the steps of litigation.
- Distinguish between liability, negligence, and malpractice and explain how they relate to medical assistants.
- Explain defenses against medical malpractice and against criminal charges.
- Identify the various ethical issues that health-care professionals face.
- Explain the uses and content of medical records.
- Describe the legal significance of confidentiality obligations.
- Explain the core concepts of HIPAA’s final Privacy Rule.
- Summarize the role of peer review in confidentiality issues.
- Describe confidentiality and security issues related to electronic medical records.
This course is designed to help you develop professional relationships in the workplace and professionally administer and manage office communications and procedures, and provides a review of basic math operations.
- Understand and explain the components of communication, both verbal and nonverbal.
- Develop effective listening and observation skills.
- Recognize prejudice in interpersonal relations.
- Describe personal traits essential for successful interpersonal relations.
- Understand important aspects of good human relations.
- Professionally answer and place telephone calls within an office.
- Handle incoming and outgoing mail and email.
- Analyze where your time is spent and identify common time wasters.
- Calculate discounts and series discounts.
- Calculate cash discounts and shipping charges.
- Change decimals and fractions to percentages and vice versa.
- Use a calculator to solve or check math problems.
Body Systems Terminology 1
In this course, you’ll become familiar with the medical terms that you'll hear on a daily basis in your new career, examine the organization of body systems, and examine the cardiovascular system, blood, the respiratory system, and the digestive system.
- Explain how root words (and their combining forms), prefixes, and suffixes function in medical terms.
- Define many of the most common roots, prefixes, and suffixes.
- Determine the meaning of a given medical term by analyzing its parts.
- Identify the anatomical position and directional terms, as well as the three planes, four quadrants, and nine regions of the body.
- Describe the body sciences of nutrition and homeostasis.
- List types of pathogens, outline the chain of infection, and suggest methods to break the chain of infection.
- Analyze the concept of immunity and differentiate between natural and acquired immunity.
- Describe the organization and formation of the human body from cells to body systems.
- Explain the anatomy and function of the integumentary system and musculoskeletal system.
- List diseases of the integumentary and musculoskeletal systems.
- Identify tests and procedures to diagnose and treat diseases of the integumentary and musculoskeletal systems.
- Use combining forms to build and analyze terms related to cellular anatomy, the integumentary system, and the musculoskeletal system.
- Explain the anatomy and function of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems.
- List diseases of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems.
- Identify tests and procedures to diagnose and treat diseases of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems.
- Use combining forms to build and analyze terms related to the cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems.
Body Systems Terminology 2
In this course, you’ll examine the sensory organs, nervous system, endocrine system, excretory system, reproductive system, and immune system. You’ll also take a closer look at oncology, radiology, surgery, pathology, and genetics.
- Explain the anatomy and function of the sensory organs, the nervous system, and the endocrine system.
- List diseases of the sensory organs, the nervous system, and the endocrine system.
- Identify tests and procedures to diagnose and treat diseases of the sensory organs, the nervous system, and the endocrine system.
- Use combining forms to build and analyze terms related to the sensory organs, the nervous system, and the endocrine system.
- Explain the anatomy and function of the excretory, reproductive, and lymphatic systems.
- List diseases of the excretory, reproductive, and lymphatic systems.
- Identify tests and procedures to diagnose and treat diseases of the excretory, reproductive, and lymphatic systems.
- Use combining forms to build and analyze terms related to the excretory, reproductive, and lymphatic systems.
- Differentiate between tumor types and explain how cancer develops.
- Classify cancers and describe the major methods of cancer treatment.
- Identify radiographic procedures and outline the types and uses of nuclear medicine tests.
- Summarize surgical methods and pathological processes.
- Describe the application of genetics to the study of diseases.
This course describes health-care professionals who are licensed to prescribe medications for the treatment of disease and illness, reference material most often used by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and pharmaceuticals that are designed to alleviate or repair any sort of malfunction in the body.
- Define the medical specialties presented in this course, the conditions that each treats, and some of the drugs prescribed.
- Identify health-care providers other than physicians who are licensed to prescribe drugs, the types of drugs that each prescribes, and the condition for which each type of drug is prescribed.
- Name five prominent health-care professionals who aren’t licensed to write prescriptions.
- Explain the main types of reference information and their sources.
- Discuss various delivery methods of drug information available to pharmacists and technicians.
- List various drug information sources that may be required by law to be present in a pharmacy.
- Identify various journals and newsletters available to pharmacists and technicians.
- Describe the most referenced sources of drug information used in pharmacy practice.
- Discuss pharmacology basics.
- List the four types of drug names, several major drug references, and the two agencies of drug regulation and enforcement.
- Describe the routes and forms of drug administration.
- Define drug action and effect, and explain the effect of drugs according to specific classifications.
- Calculate basic pharmacology mathematics and dosages.
- Identify medications related to different body systems.
Word™ and Excel®
This course teach you how to use Microsoft® Word™ 2013 to create, edit, and illustrate documents, and how to use the most widely used spreadsheet program, Microsoft® Excel.®
- Locate a file, open a recently used document, and retrieve a file that has been recently deleted.
- Use search engines and email.
- Identify the best Internet providers and services for your needs.
- Upload and download files from the Internet.
- Create, edit, format, and merge Word™ documents.
- Add graphics and tables.
- Use the basic elements of Microsoft® Excel.®
- Add, delete, and sort data.
- Create and use formulas, charts, and graphs.
Project: Microsoft® Word™
This project gives you a chance to use your Word™ skills. Create four promotional documents for a company’s training event: a cover letter introducing the company, a facts sheet highlighting product features, a flier promoting the event, and a registration form.
Project: Microsoft® Excel®
This project gives you the chance to use your Excel® skills. Create a simple worksheet to calculate the cost of office supplies, and track their increase or decrease in cost over a two-month period. Graph the results.
In this course you’ll learn the skills you need to become more confident in your writing.
- Know the parts of speech.
- Use pronouns and modifiers properly and effectively.
- Explain subject-verb agreement.
- Use end marks, commas, and other common punctuation marks.
- Use capitalization correctly.
- Explain common spelling rules and use them in your writing.
- Cite research sources.
- Compose a variety of sentence structures.
- Construct unified, coherent paragraphs.
- Connect paragraphs to build a well-organized, logical document.
- Identify your audience, medium, and purpose.
- Focus and organize your ideas.
- Plan both informal and formal writing projects.
- Revise, edit, and proofread to make your final copy accurate and professional.
- Write well-structured, professional letters.
- Format business letters, memos, and emails.
Medical Coding 1
Your first course begins with an overview of coding concepts, terms, and procedures. You’ll explore the system that will replace the ICD-9 in late 2013, the ICD-10, and why it’s important to understand the ICD-9 before learning the new system. You’ll learn how to use the CPT manual and Level II National Codes (HCPCS), CPT codes used to describe procedures involving anesthesia and general surgical treatments, how to use both the ICD-9-CM and the CPT manuals to describe diagnoses and procedures, coding issues related to the broad range of diagnostic and procedural services of the complex cardiovascular system, specialty practice coding with a detailed look at Obstetrics/Gynecology, specialty areas related to the detection, prevention, and treatment of disease, and how to provide accurate and consistent codes for services provided in a hospital setting.
- Discuss the components of government and private health-care payer systems.
- Apply HIPAA regulations.
- Use the Index and Tabular List of the ICD-9 to locate diagnosis codes.
- Understand the use and application of V-codes.
- Describe the major components of the ICD-10 system.
- Describe the components of the CPT manual.
- Describe the components of the Level II HCPCS manual.
- Discuss how to apply HCPCS codes.
- Recognize and assign CPT modifiers to services and procedures.
- Analyze key components for Evaluation and Management coding.
- Define types of anesthesia.
- Determine anesthesia codes.
- Explain surgery guidelines.
- Discuss special coding issues for burn, excision, repair, and breast procedures.
- Discuss special coding issues for fractures, casts, strapping, and endoscopic procedures.
- Discuss special coding issues for cardiovascular procedures found in the Surgery section, Medicine section, and Radiology section.
- Discuss special coding issues for procedures found in the Female Genital and Maternity Care and Delivery subsection.
- Demonstrate the ability to use the Index and Tabular List to code radiological procedures.
- Demonstrate the ability to code Pathology and Laboratory procedures.
- Demonstrate the ability to code procedures and services located in the Medicine subsection.
- Differentiate between inpatient and outpatient reporting guidelines.
- Describe inpatient diagnosis and procedure reporting using the ICD-9.
- Discuss the transition to the ICD-10-PCS system.
Additional Course Materials
Textbook: Step-By-Step Medical Coding
- ICD-9-CM Manual
- CPT Manual
Supplement: Transition to ICD-10-CM/PCS
Medical Coding 2
In this course, you’ll concentrate on the diagnoses or procedures that don’t seem to fit into any specific coding category. You’ll also learn about general coding guidelines for inpatient and outpatient procedures and physician office coding using ICD-9-CM, HCPCS Level I, and HCPCS Level II procedure coding.
- Identify diagnoses and procedures contained on medical reports.
- Apply principles to code services, conditions, and procedures using ICD-9-CM and the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS).
- Explain the official coding principles and guidelines of ICD-9-CM and HCPCS.
- Determine the proper sequencing of codes for reporting and billing.
- Apply principles to code services, conditions, and procedures using ICD-9-CM and the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS).
- Discuss ICD-9-CM and HCPCS guidelines and coding conventions.
- Discuss HCPCS procedural coding for different settings.
Additional Course Material
Textbook: Clinical Coding Workout
Electronic Medical Records
This course is designed to help you understand the reimbursement process and the various methodologies involved. You’ll be introduced to billing cycles and how health information technology is used in medical offices, and learn about basic accounting transaction terminology and apply this information to enter patient charges and payments.
- Describe prepaid health plans and commercial insurance plans.
- Identify characteristics of retrospective and prospective payment systems.
- Discuss the different government sponsored health-care programs.
- Explain how managed care works.
- Describe fee-for-service and episode-of-care reimbursement methodologies.
- Outline the Medicare acute care prospective payment system.
- Describe the Medicare skilled-nursing facility prospective payment system.
- Discuss the different outpatient prospective payment systems. Review the medical billing cycle.
- Explain how computers are used for medical billing.
- Use Medisoft® software to perform medical office procedures.
- Perform charge and payment transactions for patient services.
- Post payments.
- Create standard reports, collection letters, and reminders.
- Set up patient appointments, input office hours, and create schedules.
You will complete five hands-on projects using electronic medical software.
Additional Course Material
Textbook: Computers in the Medical Office
You will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. You will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows® 7 or later, Microsoft® Office 2013, and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.
Transfer Credits & Graduate Sooner!
Students can receive advanced academic credit for Business English and Microsoft® Word and Excel within this program. Learn more about our transfer credit policy.
To view a Medical Billing and Coding sample lesson, click here.
AAPC Student Membership
A free one-year Student Membership in the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) is also included with your Medical Billing and Coding online training program.
Medical Billing and Coding Certification
Penn Foster's Medical Billing and Coding graduates are eligible to sit for the Certified Coding Associate credential exam offered by the AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association). Graduates may also be eligible to sit for the Certified Professional Coder-Apprentice examination offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).
Please review your state board requirements that are applicable to your field of study. State boards may impose a variety of different requirements, which vary from state to state.