The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare was enacted with the goals of making healthcare more accessible, affordable, and of higher quality, while reducing consumer and government costs. The increased access to health insurance will in turn increase the number of people involved in the healthcare system, which will naturally result in the need for more number of medical billing and coding professionals.
Who Will Benefit the Most?
Certain healthcare realms will observe an improved growth:
- Demand for Family Practitioners and Nurses – The increased number of people with health coverage through Obamacare is expected to increase the demand for physician services. Since it emphasizes preventive care, it also increases the need for primary care for services such as regular checkups and other preventive medicine. Nurse practitioners, who can perform many of the same services at a fraction of a doctor’s salary, are also getting benefits. Advanced practice nurses are in demand to take care of families in a more cost-effective, quality way.
- Growth in Medical Billing and Coding – Together with the changes caused by the change to ICD-10 diagnosis and treatment codes, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will pose further challenges to billing and coding processes. The ICD-10 codes are much more specific and require more in-depth knowledge from a medical coder, such as subject matter expertise in medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and pathophysiology. This shows their importance in the revenue cycle of a healthcare facility. As more people will have health insurance coverage, more medical services will be obtained, and there will be a greater demand for medical billing and coding professionals.
- Occupational Therapists – Patients with disabilities will no more be denied coverage and this in turn will increase the demand for occupational therapists. Occupational therapy is gaining importance as the act relates it to integration of mental and physical health services.
- Fitness clubs and Health Education Providers – In ACA, wellness is a part that includes reimbursement for the cost of a fitness membership. It would also benefit those who offer classes on topics such as: Eating Right, How Exercise Strengthens the Heart, etc. Professionals like physical therapists and chiropractors who specialize in helping people manage chronic conditions and pain management will also be in greater demand. Since the act considers rehabilitation to be an essential benefit that must be covered by insurance, physical therapy assistants who help provide these services would see an increase in opportunities.
Increased number of patients with health insurance coverage can make the management of the revenue cycle, insurance claims and patient records quite challenging. In order to support the medical practices, there are professional companies that offer medical billing and coding services. By availing the services of a professional medical billing company, practices can benefit from better streamlining of billing and coding tasks, reduced workload and increased profit.